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tv   Morning Express With Robin Meade  HLN  October 14, 2009 6:00am-10:00am EDT

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campbell. just come up here behind me. from the navy, we have craig faller, the head of navy recruiting command. a.j. stewart from air force recruiting service and mr. mike applegate at headquarters marine corps. .
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>>, to this is bonuses and so forth? -- how much of this is bonuses and so forth? this goes to about 40% of recruits. about 40% of recruits receive a bonus that is worth $14,000. that is the amount that is spent. with regard to employment, what ever happens in the economy creates something that is working for you or against you and bonuses are the same thing. general stuart mentioned being on the treadmill at the speed of 7 and when things get tougher you have to go to nine. we give money for advertising, that gets it down to eight because you don't have to work quite as hard. if we had things for bonuses,
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that brings it down to a seven or six. we specifically were very strong this year in our position because we had not anticipated the forecast and had not sent resources for this level of employment. but next year we're trimming 11%. we are estimating that is correct, that is a brisk. we go into each year with a given amount of money in the plan and we make adjustments and hope those adjustments bring us to the achievement of precisely the goals we set. >> do you have research to show you why you have had these improvements? >> investment that we were able to deliver this year, because we had not built and the unemployment, as it turned out,
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left office with more dollars per recruit then proved to be minimally necessary given the level of unemployment. if you have a 1% change in unemployment, you will have about 0.5% change in the supply of recruits. that is not universal but we do have models and knowledge and insight to the market that allowance to set our resources correctly. we have a strong resource position in 2009 relative to market interest in i s and for 2010, that is being adjusted.
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as we go on, if i can come back to that. i think i can, bill perr is abo. it is about 12. >> it was the army over recent years that has fallen below their stated goal. can you say the percentage of high-school graduates in the army? >>)5b the high-school graduatesn the army corps was about 95%. that is about 11 percentage
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points higher than the last year. i talk to folks about the economy all the time and while it is challenging for many, the most important thing that helps us with success is having the right number of recruiter soldiers on the ground. that is what comes down to. in the army's case, we are very well resource to this year. -- well-resource to this year. -- well-resourced this year. it comes down to the number of recruiters we have on the ground. this will be similar in 2010. in the entry poll this year for 2010, we have over 30,000 young men and women already ready to ship.
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2009 was very successful and we anticipate 2010 being just as successful. i would have to go back and check but over 8000 in the field when you had regular army recruiters and reserve recorders. >> was that an increase? >> it was less than last year. >> when you start a year, you do not just start recording from 0 to get to 80,000. you would start with a number that are under contract to report for trading in the months ahead. in the case of the army, that number has been a tight number on the order of 10% --;k÷ i'm sorry, 12%.
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army would have preferred to have it at 1/3. that much of the annual test is ready to go to school. it is now north of 30,000. that makes for a more promising fiscal 2010 and more agility if we got the numbers wrong or we did not estimate correctly. we would have time to recover from it because we can use that pool to manage strength while we are adjusting for investments. >> how do you care for the drop in black enlistments in the army and the dramatic rise in the latino investment -- and listen in the navy?
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>> be african-american recruiting has returned to the national average. it is back at 14%. it is still less than previous. it is less than before but now at the national average. with regard to minority recruiting, do you want to take a shot at that one? >> we have placed a lot of emphasis on recruiters in the field. that is much like the army. we have protected those numbers. the chief of naval operations has said his priority -- said his priority -- advertising markets in recruiting has worked
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hard to insure that we have representative numbers of not just hispanics but african- americans, asians, pacific islanders in our force. we have done well we think in the enlisted ranks. we are at or exceed the national averages. we have work to do in the officer ranks. that is one of our challenges in the years ahead. we want to bring in a high- quality diverts force. we include women in that as well. >> we are making progress in the army. we have been challenged with african-americans in the past in meeting our goals. this year, we saw some improvement in that area. i watch that very carefully.
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we want the army to look like america. the most important thing we can do is make sure our field force understands that. i watched that on a monthly basis. we tried to make sure we are representative of recruiters and representatives of the nation and that we are retreating -- we are recruiting young men and women. >> when you see such a dramatic rise in latino or hispanic enlistment, does that create a greater problem when your officer ranks do not rise to that level and you have that imbalance? >> we look at it as a positive. we are increasing the diversity of our force. we want to increase those or role models. it is not a problem. it is a positive increasing
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diversity overall. they become good sailors, great sailors. it is important for long-term health that we want to maybe to look like america and in april models of their own culture, as well. sailors think of themselves as part of the navy culture first. that is what happens and that is a big positive and what makes the team work and the camaraderie. it is a good place to work. >> let me return to the economy -- how indicative is the incredibly bad economy for these record-breaking numbers? >> it was a force in these numbers.
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by our investment that we planned on making in recruiting, given the unemployment that we have not directly for test allows for much of the year to be in a favorable position. in 2010, we are making the 11% reduction based on, and we will watch it carefully, that is aggressive but probably say. if not, we have a good cushion in terms of those who are under contract but have not yet enrolled. if the economy improves, -- very good point and i thank you. we were ahead of our goal this year. for defense we say we would like 90% to be high school diploma graduates and we had 95%.
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we would like 60% to be from the top half in math and verbal aptitude and we had well into the 60's. this year, because of that position, we were able to achieve that. next year, where you were never trying to hit that number, they have to be there as a floor. many shoot higher. the air force has always shot higher because it can. they do so with less investment for rycroft and others because it is relatively more popular than any other service. we can forecast the economy, good luck. we will take a shot at it and then we will put our resources out there and respond with agility. we hope that next year at this time we have a story as
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favorable as we do this year. >> you're cutting your bottom line by 11% next year? >> we are recruiting resources across dod, about 11% reduction. >> i was interested in 202k essentially over, can you speak to have a recruiting will work with the grade shaping that will also take place. the opportunities will be different for recruits coming forward in the next few years that would have been able to be offered a two or three years ago. >> we made the 202k gold two
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years ahead of schedule. -- goal two years ahead of schedule. last year we assessed about 38,000 for the active force and this year we were prepared to assess over 40,000 for the active force. we actually cut that down to 31,400 because two other elements of the equation were positive the retention and attrition. our attrition rate which had been driving down for a number of years to record lows and the retention rate went up to a record high in the last few years. this started before the economy went down. in 2007, we saw a significant improvements in god retention d attrition. recruiting is only 1/3 of the equation. this year, we drove down to
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31,000 where 2.5 years ago, we thought it would be 40,000 or more. next year, we're looking at a mission of 30,000. before 202k, it was 30,000 marines. we don't need to assess but 30,000 marines to maintain their 202k force. our grade shapes have remained pretty constant. tant. that has enlarged all the great change. there are over to enter a great change in the marine corps. they have all basically enlarged.
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the young americans that are going to recruiting stations in 2010 and 2011 will wind up with the same opportunities for field assignments. there will be fewer rains. -- there will be fewer marines to assess. >> a followup on the diversity question -- do you have data from the fiscal year and geographic diversity? that would be where you recruit most from tax has that changed at all? >> sure, what would be our share if we look at all to you and all the counties in the united states -- all the states, i should say, and are we getting more or less than an average share from that state?
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we find now, as we found in years past, the military is more likely to draw better from the south and less well from the northeast. we have them for every states and some states are different than others. they are close but the answer is, it has been that way since the revolutionary war and standing militias in the northeast but it is different by state. they are recruiting chiefs that allocate their resources. >> there are differences across the nation for recruiting. for the air force, we do most recruits from texas this year followed by california.
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we do not manage the recruits as much as we manage the recruiters. the past performance indicates this. we are/zip code across the country. we know the areas that have performed well in the past. we look to those areas to pour guess on the fire -- for gas on the fire. -- pour gas on the fire. >> if there is an area in the country that seems to be providing less records for you, do you know how to bring that up? >> in the army, we are similar. we use our recruiting force to do our business in different parts of the country. hathe data provided from the
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south is pretty typical with respect to your question specifically is, from a geographic standpoint, we look at six different recruiting brigades. we mentioned those brigades four goals each quarter. we look at the market trends with respect to how recruiters are doing and we look at current data and we look into the future. with the economy getting better, we are already looking into the future to see how we can continue to do better. i'm already looking to 2011. we do it by brigade and by area and they are responsible for different regions of the country.
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>> you said that seems to be a steady breakdown? the northeast is anot lore that has been? >> it is skewed low by the same proportion it has been for many years. that is not necessarily a good or bad thing it just is. therefore, you consider in your recruiting that if you want it to be perfectly equal, your investments will have to be much higher. the nation would prefer a homogenous. to make up the difference, it might not merit the investment. >> if your resources are down, the army has to continue growing, the marine corps has to
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call -- as to hold its 2022. what numbers are we looking for 40,010? -- what numbers are looking at for 2010? >> about 75,000 active, and listed, 20,000 reserves, and 60,000 national guard. >> 50,000 active when you get in reserves. it is roughly the same numbers we had last year. >> oahfor the marine corps actie
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in 2009, 31,430. our official target for 2010 is 30,000 and we are still working that out. i believe in 2009, on the reserve side, we met our goal over 8000. i believe the goal for 2010 for the reserve side will be over 7000. is that correct? >> you can tell you are under business pressure when you say 30,314. >> let me put wavers in context. about one in five recruits is
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wavered, not talking felonies, get a waiver. they do not fully meet the standards, one in five. of those, 2/3 are, but and 1/3 our medical. -- our medical. of those 20%, about 1%, i will call it a felony, it is serious misconduct because that term varies across state requirements. about 1%, about two per 1000 would have a serious misconduct, a felony, conviction, and about four per 1000 would have been arrested for a major misconduct offense but not under adverse
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adjudication. one in five get a waiver, most of them are for conduct, some for medical but it is only two per 1000 that are major misconduct with a major adjudication. if you look at those, it is not a case where someone went to prison. it is typically a case -- will give you a couple of examples. a young person set a be hit all of -- set a beehive on fire and the building next to it caught on fire. it happened three years prior to the time that he wanted to enlist. we have about a dozen of these that are typical of the waivers. having said that there is that few waivers, if you want more of
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the recruiting commanders to discuss what you have to go through in order to receive a waiver. for misconduct, what of these gentlemen or someone next to them will be making those decisions. it is a tough scrutiny. i was in new york city at cornell last week and when they -- and the topic was, what will we do about people who had an offense and cannot get a job as a warehouse worker because they had a shoplifting offenses under 15?
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that was kind of discussion. a couple of things came out of that. one is that if you have committed an offense, you are not prone in that direction for life. at the end about four years, on average, even for aggravated assaults and serious things like that, you are no more likely to offend in the general population. after four years, you're less likely to offend. when we say serious misconduct, most of them were not even convicted but we will chop them up as being in that group. if you were arrested for something, we want to know all about it and we will shock you up as a felony waiver.
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secondly, if we look at you, somebody will be doing a lot of work to get leaders to stand behind you and offer statements. if you make it through all that, the likelihood is and the fact is, you will do as well as your counterparts who came in without a waiver. i would be glad to provide some of the national experts. they would cite that the dod as the most transparent meritocracy of a waiver process that can be had from an employer in this nation. >> how those match up to previous figures? >> it will be less in 2009. we will not have final numbers until the end of october. it will be last and it will be significantly less. i cannot say how much less until we get the actual data.
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>> the high school-graduation rate increases? >> there is safe favorable correlation with resource that you can take less risk. the pressure is on aptitude. if they are tight and need recruits, the waiter takes priority. -- the waiver takes priority. most of the misdemeanors will not hurt you. that will not falter performance.
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the majority is obesity for medical. >> bill lower categories, -- the lower categories, have been on the increase. where were you last year? >> in the department of defense, we can release that category up to 4%. last year was up 3% in the army and a little more for the army reserve. this year it is 1.5% for active reserve. we are trending down. the entry poll for next year,
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99% of them have high-school degrees. the numbers continue to go down for the army. those folks are fully qualified to join the army. my predecessor talked about that last year we value their service and will continue to. let's go back to the waivers for a minute. the army waivers were down 37% overall, conduct waivers. the good news for the army is that last year we told to we had 370 major ms contact and this year it is 220. that is part of the decrees we are seeing. we see a good trend in the army that we can continue to recruit
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quality men and women. >> we have time for one more. >> was there a self-imposed limit of 2% tax are you imposing any limits this year? >> the only limit i imposed was 4%. i have not imposed any cap on the army. >> in that hand out, we have a wealth of material and if there are any other questions, let public affairs know. it really is the good accomplishment at this stage in the volunteer force. thank you for coming. [no audio]
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>> the 2010 students cam, test is here. lots of prizes for middle and high school students. create a video on one of our country's greatest strengths. it must incorporate cspan programming and show varying points of view. the deadline is january 20. winning entries will be shown on c-span. gramm a camera and get started. >> yesterday, the senate finance committee approved its version of health-care legislation 14-9 which would cost an estimated
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$829 billion over 10 years. coming up shortly, we will get reaction from senate finance committee republicans on the boat and from president obama. health care will be one of our topics on this morning's "washington journal." that begins to the top of the hour. centre olympia snowe was the only republican to vote for the health-care bill yesterday. here are some of her remarks. t to thank you for guiding a process which has enabled us to examine and to consider what may be the most complex issues to come before this committee. this committee has gone further than ever before in attempting to blaze a pathway towards affordability for all americans that has eluded us for decades, if not a century. to your credit, mr. chairman, you have predicated this process on substance rather than
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politics, and it's been remarkable for the absence of rancor, and that's a tribute to you and to senator grassley who also shares an abiding concern for health security for americans and who has thoughtfully and constructively offered myriad approaches to the bill before us. indeed, the last two weekn9r wee considered more than hundreds of amendments. we've heard legitimate proposals from both sides about the proper role of government in providing the answers. i think it's clear we all struggle with the appropriate equilibrium. but i don't think that there is any doubt that everyone here is sincere in the solutions that they espouse and that we all recognize that there is a problem. in that light, as we contemplate the course of our action here today, we should also contemplate the decades of inaction that has brought us to this crossroads. indeed, with one in four americans either uninsured or
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underinsured, the track record is clear, the status quoo the status quo approach has one common denominator and that is that we are having a problem that's growing worse and not better. skyrocketing health care costs have driven up premiums, having the potential to send the entirety of our health care system into a death spiral because costs are outpacing inflation two to three times. we're seeing employer-provided coverage is predicted to reach $30,800 a decade from now. we can anticipate spending $33 trillion over this next decade. it's really akin to the titanic. in turning the titanic around before it hits an iceburg. burr the difference is that the captain did not know there was an iceberg, but we do. at the same time, people are dually apprehensive in what
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congress will do in providing a system(#q provides the best health care in the world, a concern that might result in a government takeover of health care. they're understandably troubled about what reform will mean to them. and they're also rightly questioning as to whether or not this is the appropriate point in time given our state of the economy to take this undertaking. they also question congress's ability to get it right. and that's why i have argued vehemently, consistently, and persistently as the chairman knows against arbitrary deadlines and i've communicated that to the president, as well. because i think that we understandñi that these issues e complex. and most certainly the american people intuitively understand that this issue is not only complex, it's costly. and given the?e enormity of the task that it should take time. and that's exactly what we should be given. and if there's anything i've learned in my more than 30 years of legislative experience,
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that's the best way to allay people's concerns is to systemically address these issues, their views, their viewpoints, and the alternatives. now, produces some bipartisan landmark reforms, which is to end the unfair flagrant insurance practice policies that have devastated americans for decades. we're familiar with them. and rescinding policies when people get ill, a rating premiums on the basis of health status or gender are not providing coverage to americans and denying that coverage so that not every american has the ability to access affordable health care. this bill also does navigate ideology, to bolster what works in the system and engenders quality and competition, lowering premiums, achieving savings, which is critically important as well as changing the accelerating cost curve of health care spending.
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in addition, it creates individual and business changes. we've worked on in creating small business health insurance reform. this is critical because it'll create a powerful marketplace for creating that competition and lowering premiums, which is so critical by providing access for the very first time to national plans that will be offered across all state lines and all 50 states, which i propose. because i think that is going to be so important in injecting competition in the marketplace. i'm also pleased that in this mark includes a provision to expand low income affordability for people in the exchanges, adding significant number of small businesses that will have access to the exchanges immediately, which is also going to be critical in creating and enhancing the power of these exchanges. the cbo has indicated these exchanges will help tens of millions of americans to have insurance, and to achieve savings in coverage.
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at the same time, i e have shared my republicans' concerns about vast governmental bureaucracies and governmental intrusions. that's why i oppose the amendment for the so-called public option. i co-authored a amendment with senator schumer regarding the individual mandate penalty and requiring congress to rereview and reassess that mandate altogether. the owner should be on the government to achieve and accomplish the primary goal of this legislation which, of course, is affordability. undeniably, it remains my paramount concern. if anything we have to do is continue to wrestle with that issue to absolutely ensure that all americans have access to affordable health insurance plans and that we absolutely know that they are affordable. and i know the charts that the
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cbo has produced demonstrates that if you start to compare the different plans and what people give access for affordable health insurance with the tax subsidies and the tax credits. absolutely imperative and it will produce change, but we have to make sure that it's absolutely guaranteed. other concerns i have is medicaid expansion. implication for future state budgets, me çñ reimbursement, nursing homes, they don't realize the benefits that other providers will do because of the reduction of the number of uninsured and uncompensated care. and i have other issues, as well. it's not an exhaustive list. so is this bill all that i would want? is it all that it can be? no. but when history calls, history calls. and i happen to think that the consequences of inaction dictate the urgency of congress to take every opportunity to demonstrate its capacity to solve the monumental issues of our time.
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throughout this process there are many, many miles to go in this legislative journey. as one national story characterized it recently, people do have concerns about what we will do with reform. but at the same time, they want us to continue working. and that is what my vote to report this bill out of committee here today represents. is to continue working the i do it with reservations because i share my republican colleagues' trepidation about what will transpire on the senate floor, what will emerge in the house senate aíñconferen and how indeed the finance committee bill will be merged with the health bill. and on that point i want to be perfectly clear, mr. chairman. i happen to believe that as a finance bill is integrated with the help bill that we have to absolutely be sure that it's done in strict accordance with
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the cbo's interpretation of the finance committee provision. that's absolutely essential so that we maintain the integrity of the score of the mark. and on those provisions that are part of that legislation. secondly before i vote on whether to consider the unified bill, the merged bill between health and the finance 4éo$cf1 o committee, i certainly think we should have a final cbo score on the statutory language that is available on public websites. everybody has a chance to review it. that's consistent with what my republican colleagues have argued for. it's what senator lincoln initiated in a letter to the senate ma yojority leader. it's certainly my bottom line, as well. finally, i say that my vote today is my vote today. it doesn't forecast what my vote will be tomorrow. as henry wadsworth long fellow
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said. he said great is the art of the beginning, but greater is the art of the ending. so as this process goes forward, i hope that we give to the scope and complexity to the issue before us and that we do everything possible to develop a greater propensity for bipartisanship and achieving broader support for this legislation and resist the temptation and the impulses to retreat into partisanship. the majority has the vote. has the votes in the house, has the votes in the senate. so it shouldn't be about the mathematics of vote counting, but rather the mechanics of getting the best policy. because after all, 1/6 of our economy, the health security and the financial well being of all americans should not be at the mercy of one vote margin strategy. i happen to believe that credibility of the process will
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dictate the credibility of the outcome. i recall, mr. chairman, when you convened this committee early on this year. on the first meeting regarding health care reform and you indicated it was your fore most priority. you also expressed a desire to do everything we could to achieve broad bipartisan support. and i know that goal has eluded us here today. but it's somet w >> we will now hear from republicans on the committee who did not support the health bill. olympia snowe was the only member of the gop to vote for the legislation.
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the republicans positive amendments which were rejected by the democrats. there were some that dealt with medical malpractice. it was interesting that the director of the cbo confirmed that since they calculated age $54 billion per your statement to the federal government of medical malpractice that it would be twice that if one used medical malpractice from the private sector. the republican idea could have without spending $1 sales over $100 billion per year, money that could have been put forth to help insure some americans that need insurance. when the chairman of the committee announced that he was proud that they produced a bill
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that was deficit neutral, that set the bar loper it all you have to do is raise taxes high enough and you can have a deficit neutral bill. it is hard on american people to pay the higher taxes or supper of the rationing of care. -- or suffer through the rationing of care. those who defended the cbo neglected to mention that cbo and price waterhouse all agree that insurance premiums for families in america will go up, not down, under this legislation. since there was news made over the weekend over the price waterhouse study, i want to confirm that that study was backed up. they agree that premiums will go up as a result of this legislation.
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>> one thing i want to make very clear for people who observed the vote that just took place, a vote against the bill is not a boat for status quo. everybody knows that things need to be changed in health care system. how do you do it? several things that have been mentioned already -- if there is something you could do about the cost of medical costs, tort reform, a 10% of the cost of medicine, defense of medicine, taking care of that would be very helpful towards changing the status quo and that is something that many people in the senate stand for and we need to get that going. many people believe that for the first time in the history of our country, 225 years, but federal government is saying you have to buy something.
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that has never been before. u.s. an individual can do whatever you want to, by whatever you want to, when you want to, where you want to get it. now the federal government is saying you have to buy health insurance. i think this can be done on a voluntary basis through the reinsurance program that would be very helpful. if you want to reduce health- care costs, selling health insurance across state lines like car insurance would be very helpful. i will not stand still and let people say that a vote against this bill is a vote for the status quo. when we go to the floor, we will be there telling people how we will change the status quo. >> i remember a few years ago in
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2005, we wanted to restrain medicare spending by billions of dollars. they are cutting medicare by $500 billion in this bill. that is at a time when they know that medicare as unfettered liability. it goes on from there. we know this is a long way from having what they want which is a single payer system. frankly, if we go to that system, we will all rooted dead. this is a very costly bill. it is not moderate. it is very costly and will cost as an arm and leg. it will disrupt the practice of medicine. it does not do anything about tort reform. unnecessary defensive medicine is eating us alive and running costs up.
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the cost of this is astronomical. be that as it may, this will now be merged with a totally partisan bill, the health committee bill, i sat on that committee as well. they will then have to merge it whatever they come up with. it is going down from here. i am very disappointed that we have arrived at this particular status were the best we can come up with is something that will move this into a single payer system. that has been the goal of the democrats from day one. that is one that bothers me. we are for health care reform but it should be done in a restrained, dignified good way that will save the taxpayers' money and help us all to continue to run this government in a way that means fiscal restraint.
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>> i spent weeks on the markup in the health bill and i am disappointed. this bill cost less but it still costs. it is an expansion of government. have a bit will be paid for out of medicare. half of it. my seniors fought medicare was having troubles. -- thought medicare was having troubles. the average person in wyoming who was not a senior thought we would do something to help health-care costs. i am not opposed to helping out the poor and uninsured but i thought they would get something out of the bill. that is where we are in the process. this needs to be done on a step- by-step basis to get it done for every american and it can be done that way and it can be done in a boar -- bipartisan way.
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>> with unemployment around 10%, the american people are worried sick about the state of the economy and whether they will have a job tomorrow and whether they can keep their home. they are sick and tired of us in congress spending and borrowing. 43 cents sign -- 43 cents out of every dollar is being spent. this bill continues that reckless spending but not in order to accomplish the ultimate goal which is to bring down costs and to make health care more accessible to more people. we found that health insurance premiums will go up for people who currently have health coverage. in texas alone, 91% of policyholders in texas will see their health insurance premiums go up because of mandates
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contained in this legislation. we can do much better than this. if democrats would metis and the metal to embrace the ideas for insurance reform and the ideas would bring down the cost and be more accessible, we could have a bipartisan bill that the president could sign and would be a victory for all americans. instead, we see a hyper-partisan process. this will jeopardize the health care coverage people have now and make matters worse, not better. we're glad to answer questions. >> why did to suppress the discussion of a single pair from day one? -- single payer from day one? >> does anybody from the press corps have any questions?
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>> remarks now from president barack obama on the health care bill to the finance committee. the bill passed 14-93 the finance committee bill will be merged with the health committee bill. >> today we reached a critical milestone in our effort to reform the health-care system. after many months of thoughtful deliberation, the fifth and final committee responsible for health care reform best proposal that has democratic and republican support. this effort was made possible by the tireless efforts of chairman max baucus and the other members of the senate finance committee. it is a product of vigorous debate and difficult negotiations. after the consideration of hundreds of amendments that includes ideas from democrats and republicans, which is why it enjoys the support of people from both parties.
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i want to thank senator olympia snowe for the political courage and the seriousness of purpose she has demonstrated throughout the process. this bill was not perfect and we have difficult work ahead of us. there are still significant details and disagreements to be worked out over the next several weeks. there are five separate bills from the senate and house that will be merged into one proposal. i believe the work of the senate finance committee has brought us significantly closer to achieving the core objectives i laid out early in september. most importantly, this bill goes a long way toward giving security people who have insurance and affordable options for those who don't. it rains and some of the worst practices of the insurance industry like the dial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions. it sets up an insurance exchange that will make coverage affordable for those who don't currently have it. as the non-partisan but
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congressional budget office certified, it will slow the growth of health care costs in the long term and will not add one penny to our deficit. the committee's progress over the past several weeks is a combination of work by all five committees and numerous members of congress over the better part of this year. we have reached out to stakeholders' across the spectrum. doctors and nurses, businesses and workers, hospitals and even drug companies. we are -- we have considered a wide variety of proposals to find common ground. as a result of these efforts, we're no closer than ever before to passing health care reform. we're not there yet. we are not patting ourselves on the back. it is not the time to offer ourselves congratulations. it is now the time to dig in and work harder to get this done. in this final phase, i hope we will continue to engage each other with the spirit of civility and seriousness that
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has brought us this far and that this subject deserves. i commend the chairman and the committee members for their achievement and the examples they said. i look forward to continue to work with congress in the weeks ahead. we will get this done. thank you very much, everybody. [no audio] >> for more information on health care, visit the cspan health
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"washington journal" is next. the health debate and i run -- the house debated a ramp sections yesterday. -- the house debated iran sanctions yesterday. >> coming up shortly, we get updated on what is a head for the health care bills. a representative from the u.s. chamber of commerce will improve -- will discuss ways of
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improving the u.s. economy. after that, president barack obama's trip to the midwest. "washington journal washington " begins now. . for republicans, 202-737-0001. for democrats, 202-737-0002. for independents, 202-628-0205.
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you can also send us messages on twitter, we are at twitter.com/c-spanwj, or by e- mail, journal@c-span.org. we are joined first this morning by bob cusec -- cusack. think you for joining us. what was the most significant thing about yesterday and its progress in the senate? >> -- guest: it was a huge day for max baucus. he has been working on this deal for about a year. many on the left are not fond of senator baucus' bill, including the labor unions. he would have needed olympia snowe, otherwise it would have just looked like the other bills
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that passed. this one is different, it has more momentum than the ones that have been passed out of the house. they have got a long way to go. the white house is counting yesterday, five presidents over 60 years have tried this. never has a nation been closer to health reform. it was a milestone day. hope -- host: what happens next? guest: down to the nuts and bolts. republicans were criticizing the bill yesterday on the senate side, also saying that this will not be the final bill that will go to conference. the senate bill that passed the health committee will have to be merged with the house bill. the house is still struggling to merge its bill within its own committees. nancy pelosi has a version with
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a public option, it is committed to that, but she also needs to hundred 18 votes, which is difficult. on the set aside their version of the bill is very different. the senate health version has a public option and an employer mandate. the mandate in the finance committee is on an individual basis. very different. the key player here is going to be harry reid. he is going to be meeting with the chairman of the health committee and chris dodd, who is playing a key role in this debate. as well as senator baucus. of course, olympia snowe is going to be in on those discussions. harry reid knows that he needs
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to keep her in the fold. host: any other republicans that might be involved in this discussion? guest: on the house side one player to look out for is [unintelligible] she is a leader in the blue dog coalition. she and nancy, as you do not see eye to eye on health care reform, but nancy pelosi is going to need a fair amount of those blue dogs. on the senate side, as far as republicans, it does not look like they have many others, it could change but i doubt it. usually senator snowe and susan collins are sent to arrest. they vote along the same lines.
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as well as senator joe lieberman, he opposes the max baucus bill. if you look at the liberal wing of the party on the senate side, including sharon brown, who is pushing very hard for a public option, they went through weeks of markups a while back. they will be fighting for their version with senator reid. host: bob cusack, thank you for being with us this morning. guest: thank you. host: we will be back with bob cusack later on in the hour. let's look at this piece in "the wall street journal." the right "key bill clears panel -- the right "key bill clears panel." -- de they are riwrite "keith
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hill clears panel." -- t-bikey bill clears panetl." -- panel." is it possible to see bipartisanship this morning? caller: i do not think so. republicans are going to not vote for anything that the democrats give them. they do not want it. host: thank you. loraine, republican line.
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caller: there are some concessions. obama said that key figures on both sides were out there. i do not know where the previous caller is reading between the lines, but i think that there could be some compromise. host: what would you like to see the republicans contribute? caller: i would like to see people who are low-income or handicapped, or disabled, i would like to see their things not be taxed as much.
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old people, you know, and veterans -- they are covered. i know that i had a hefty spending out to get whatever i get on medicare and medicaid. if you have got to pay into it to help take care of yourself, that is my opinion. as long as they do not take away from those who are truly needy, i do not see the problem. host: linda, independent line, calling from pennsylvania. caller: good morning. i would like to ask a question, if possible. then make a statement. i do not think that the
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republicans are going to be able to agree, cooperate, or contribute anything that is meaningful to the american people in general. i think that one of the big problems is lobbyist influence on both sides. that will handle -- hinder any actual bill that will help the american people. i believe that socialized medicine can work but we will never get there in this country because of the lobbyists. why is the american public's of view genuinely heard in this debate? we are hearing about pharmaceutical lobbyists, medical lobbyists. i am so frustrated to this. thank you for c-span. host: we will check in with bob cusack and he can talk about the
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public opinion and how much they have been involved in the debate. right now let's look at the comments from olympia snowe yesterday. >> when history calls, history calls. i happen to think that the consequences of inaction dictate the urgency of congress to take every opportunity to damage -- demonstrate its capacity to solve the monumental issues of our time. there are many, many miles to go in this legislative journey. as characterized by one national story, recently, people have concerns over what they would do with reform. that is what my vote to report this bill out of committee today represents, to continue working the process.
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host: our next call is renee, democratic line. caller: good morning thank you for c-span. anything is possible as far as bipartisanship. democrats have the majority. they should use that majority. the republicans are not about trying to get any changes. when it comes to buy partisanship, no, it is not going happen. i know that the president wants set, but like olympia snowe said, she is not the president, she is one republican vote. that is how it should be looked at. it will not make or break the bill. host: looking at "the wall street journal," "the key
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players that will have a role. besides the people in the major discussions, there is the swing vote. democrats urgently want to keep the vote of olympia snowe. the other republican from maine, susan collins. also, the reelection candidate from arkansas, blanche lincoln, who is facing a tough re- election bid in 2010. the conservative nebraska democratic senator, ben nelson, who presents an equally big challenge for democratic leaders. he comes from a conservative state and has voiced misgivings. then there is and -- mary landrieu and roland burris.
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." we will hear from mary landrieu later on on the program. let's go to bristol, va., where ralph is on the republican line. caller: first, to our troops, i want to say we are behind you 100%, even though the white house is not. i wanted to make the point that the american public needs to realize that we are on the road to socialism. this is not just about health care, this is across the board. this health care situation is
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like throwing a drowning man another brick. i do not see how our country will be able to survive economically unless we start looking towards employment, taking on the health care issue as weekend. unfortunately it will not be bipartisan. we have already seen a concerted effort by the white house to go after fox news. that is pretty rare for a president to go after a first amendment right and a media outlet. to the american people, i hope that they keep us saul and in whatever way they can. host: independent line, florida. go ahead. caller: i think that bipartisanship could be
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possible if the congress would vote have the same health care but they are ready to impose on everyone else rather than their gold-plated policies that they have had for a while. i think that it is outrageous and obnoxious that they would retain their gold-plated policy and give the ordinary citizen something far less. that is pretty much all i have to say. host: from "usa today" that says "long before she bucked her party on the health care bill, she spent months helping to shape it. she wanted insurance policies to be more affordable for low-
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income workers. the bill was changed to provide bigger government subsidies. olympia snowe has strong support at home. she won reelection in 2006 with 74% of the vote. one group, the main people's alliance, is spending $150,000 on ads urging a bagging of government-run insurance plans. olympia snowe possible vote has also caused tremendous unhappiness among senate republicans. any move by top republicans to punish her would likely be ineffective given her strong support at home. -- at home." massachusets, anthony. good morning. caller: i would like to reiterate what senator schumer
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said on television. he said now that senator dodd, senator reid, senator baucus, if senator reid agrees with the public option, all five bills will have the public option. when that happens, when it goes to the floor with a public option in there, it will take 60 votes to take it out, for the table to turn and the option it will pass. because there are enough democrats to pass the public option. olympia snowe is eliminated now.
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harry reid becomes the person of interest. we will see how harry reid votes. thank you. host: jean, do you think that bipartisanship is possible? caller: lot with this congress. they are too stubborn as far as getting their way. they are not willing to talk to republicans. if you have watched and listened as much as i have, they refuse to vote on the amendments. a table everything. they have not listened to the public. the people do not want the public option for sure. they do not want a lot of other things on this bill. we do not want money taken out of the plans to pay for people that are not willing have insurance. i just feel that unless this congress starts listening to the
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people, they will find themselves bloated out in the next election. by also pray for the troops every day and i think it is so sad that we do not have a president that supports them. host: usa today, sticking points to iron out, the health committee and the finance committee. differences include individual mandates with two exceptions. each adult added would pay an annual penalty, increasing from there. there would also be a tax penalty of $750 per individual, it is not phased in. then there is the employer mandate, medicaid expansion, and
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marketplace competition. the employer mandates as the companies with more than 50 full-time workers would have to play a fee if they did not offer health insurance under the finance committee plan. the health committee plan says the businesses with 25 or more employees would be required to offer insurance or pay a fine for each employee not covered. kansas city, an independent line, good morning. caller: the last two callers did not know what they were talking about. sixty votes to take it out? it would also have to have 60 votes to pass that all. it could get knocked out that way. the last caller said something about not wanting medicare mess with, what you think the
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republicans want to do? they want medicare to fail just like everything else. olympia snowe, i think she will get something through, she is basically the smartest republican of the whole bunch. she is working to get the republicans back control. all she has got to do is get it to pass with poison pills scatter all through it. that way when it fails, republicans have got it. democrats are so stupid, they will let her do it. so, then they are out of power and they have nothing. host: the wall street journal -- "the wall street journal" has laid out the path of the bill. "said october 26 is the target date to begin debate on the
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bill -- "october 26 is the target date to begin debate on the bill. the conference committee would convene. by the end of the year president barack obama's target date is the end of 2009. maryland, democratic line. caller: good morning. one thing i would like to figure out is what a cadillac health care plan is. i think that i have one. my husband works for the federal government. we get the same insurance that the big shots get in the government. more than 30 insurance companies are all too happy to send us mail and go after our business. and the truth is they're willing to cut us some nice deals if they are able to get access to
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federal workers. under law i do not think that federations are supposed to be able offer. what does it mean when they say they are going to tax cadillac health plans? i tried to find out on the internet and i could not find out what it is. host: we will be talking later on in the hour to bob cusack. also, later on, when bill potter will join us. -- wendell potter will join us. let's go to robert, of the republican line. caller: -- let's go to robert, on the republican line.
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caller: by partisanship will not work -- by partisanship -- bi partisanship will not work. there are a couple of simple things that we could do to solve the health crisis. the first part we are talking about for everybody is to allow purchase across state lines. another is to get toward reform. we have got those two items. like the doctors to practice medicine with the patients, costs will come down. capitalism works. host: tony joins us from burbank, california. go ahead.
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caller: not only is bipartisanship possible, it has to happen. this is an important issue that affects all americans. host: how do you expect it come about? caller: i do not expect it to happen, i just think that it should happen. these are important issues for everyone. dow to keep this away from the american public -- to keep this away from the american public is shameful. we need reform to keep costs down. the fact that obama has not done anything, the public option has been taken off the table. i think it will provide a market
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stimulus, if there is a public option. socialized medicine, the term gets thrown around too easily. the fact that you can find something so cheap around the country, prices when it comes to things like fedex, ups, they make a lot of money. there is no reason why a public option could not be figured out. host: twitter, there is a comment from jason. "it is not possible, republicans have not been considered from day one." sherry, republican line, greensboro, north carolina. caller: i am calling to hope that there will not be
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bipartisanship. i hope that the republicans will stand up against this. this is not about health care, it is about government control of our lives. if the government would get out of the way and allow us to purchase plans for other states, prices would go down considerably. if this passes, people from new york could have their insurance premiums raised up to $45 a year. i service will go down the toilet. thank you. host: democratic line, tennessee. caller: good morning. but only as bipartisanship not possible, it is not necessary. americans need to remember that elections have consequences. democrats need to remember that
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they do not need 60 votes, they can do it through reconciliation. i do not understand why we are making such a big deal out of olympia snowe's of vote. what if she had voted no? it would have been 13-10 in this still would have passed. say it with me, everyone. reconciliation. public option. thank you. host: lance, independent line. georgia. caller: bipartisanship is impossible. but i think they're doing a tremendous job. i hope that congress will continue to look out for the welfare of all americans. thank you very much. host: pat, calling from upper michigan. caller: i do not think that bipartisanship will ever go
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through. i must comment on the person from minnesota. i have been in the small business industry. we have struggled with health insurance for our employees for 30 years. i used to be able to purchase mine from the state of wisconsin. by can no longer do that now. -- i can no longer do that now. another concern that we have is no doctors. we have a shortage of doctors now. the bill that they are passing, i can see it making it worse. thank you. host: committees have already written and passed many bills that must be merged. they then need to go to a vote on the floor. more steps are after that.
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it must go a conference. finally the president would sign the bill. still a long way ahead for health care legislation. kansas city, missouri. good morning. caller: good morning. host: you are on the air. caller: i do not think that the bill will pass because congress and the president and all of them, they cannot work with each other. by worked in health care. people are suffering every day -- i worked in health care. people are suffering every day. if the republicans would quit being so judgmental and quick to criticize people in what they're doing, maybe they could come together in conference.
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the people without insurance are the ones that suffer. taking the under privileged insurance, which is probably nothing, give them that. see how they like that before they come together. that is all i have to say. host: let's go back to bob cusack, managing editor for "the hill." thank you for joining us this morning. olympia snowe, voting the way that she did, one caller said it was not that big of a deal because there were not -- because there were enough votes to get through the finance committee. why is it so significant? >> -- guest: she wanted to endorse it, keep things going. she had been involved extensively in discussions with max baucus, who was visibly
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pleased with her vote yesterday. she got a lot of what she wanted into the bill. she said that there is a lot she is concerned about. medicare rates for health providers, amongst other issues. she also backs of drug importation, allowing consumers to get prescription drugs from other countries like canada. there are things she is still pushing for, but certainly there is a bit of leverage going on. she is more likely to have the influence on this. as we reported earlier this week, a couple of senators told us on the condition of anonymity, if she did vote yes on the floor she could risk her perch as the top republican on the commerce committee, which is now held by senator hutchinson.
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she is going to be running for governor of texas. there will be an opening. republicans on the committee will decide. that will be an interesting development. republicans, of course, remember arlen specter bolting from the republican party, it would be risky if they punished her by not giving her the slot. host: a piece from jeffrey young today, he writes "mr. obama praised the finance committee and the role of olympia snowe in it." what purpose is served by the president singling her out and talking about her? guest: he has been calling her in recent days leading up to the vote. he knew how important it was to
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make is bipartisan. -- make this bipartisan. remember, barack obama vowed to make this bipartisan. there were some republican ideas in the bill, and now they can claim that this bill is bipartisan. they have a republican that they can tell. the key will be keeping her. they do need 60 votes on the senate floor. robert byrd has missed a lot of votes because of various ailments. they may not vote with centrists on this, so they need to keep olympia snowe happy. host: regina, democratic line.
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caller: thank you for c-span. the democrats need to grow a said. republicans have basically ruined the economy. i would also like to say that the president does support the troops. he has supported them just as much or even more than the previous president. 61% of the americans support the public option. i think that the american people want a public option. guest: a lot of democrats are shaking their head as to why the mood over the public option has dimmed.
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rohm emmanuel said as soon as last night that the public option is not dead. the president clearly wants the bill more than he wanted public option. polls show that a lot of americans want the public option, which nancy pelosi has said it repeatedly. the debate shifted over the summer and republicans grab that momentum at these various town hall meetings. republicans believe that that was america saying let's not do the public option. some democrats admittedly said that made them rethink. maybe we need to go in another direction. still, four out of the five committees have a public option in it. will there be some version of the public option? they trigger if the private
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insurance -- a trigger if the private insurance market fails? it remains to be seen. some on capitol hill think that there will be some version of the public option in this bill. host: senator charles schumer was speaking about the progress being made on msnbc. he said that the work being done in the finance committee is some of the most important new hulsey, as the bill will get more and more liberal as it passes -- most important that we will see, as the bill will get more liberal as it passes through the house. host: what of the many -- guest: one of the many frustrations that people have had in washington about the gang of six is that the senator's in the
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room came from a largely rural states. now the senators have from the coasts basically want to get their say. that is going to be the amendment process on the floor. that is why it will take so long to get to a final passage. senator schumer has been adamant over a public option in the bill, but does he have in the range of 60 votes? he has got a long way to go. there needs to be a public option in the final bill. host: merriman, good morning. guest: this is my -- caller: this is my first time on c-span. i would like to comment on how the current senate is trying to make it a bipartisan effort.
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being a naturalized citizen, i think it is a good effort to try. i think that they should try to embrace the thought of having some of the ideas that the republican party's have. if you are going to have a public option where the government can provide coverage in other states, i think the private industry should be able have the same opportunity. with that said i think that competition will be more even. one previous caller commented that we are pushing the president on this, but it goes both ways. i think it is a healthy thing to
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hold the president accountable. that is all that i have. guest: the idea to purchase insurance across state lines is an idea pushed by the republicans. this is something that president obama has said he is in support of. giving some type of relief to doctors who are facing lawsuits, some of which critics say are really unnecessary, clogging the legal system. democrats have not embraced that idea. republicans pointed that out yesterday, they offered amendments in the finance committee, but they were voted down along party lines. that was an effort that doctors are certainly pushing for on
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medical malpractice reform. host: mike, calling from cleveland, georgia. caller: is a pleasure to be able to have an open debate like this. someone earlier talked about them trying to socialized medicine. we have been socializing the debt of big corporations, pharmaceuticals, wal-mart, the military-industrial complex, we have put billions of dollars into these people's hands, i cannot really see where they needed. you judge a country by what they do for the least among them. when you discount the disadvantaged and the handicapped before giving your money away to the industrial
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complex, if they move overseas and make bad investments, who will bail them out? >> there have been a lot of buzz terms in the health-care debate. one of them is socialized medicine. death panels. government takeovers. one that democrats have been using as a status quo, -- have been using is status quo. these terms tend to get under the skin of the other party. partially because of resonates with the american people. you will see that rhetoric pick up over the next few weeks going into thanksgiving and possibly all of the way to christmas as they try to get the bill done. some have said that we are talking about socialized medicine, but if you look at police departments and schools,
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clearly that is done with government money. look at medicare, polls show that is a very successful program. they ask what is wrong with the public option, what is wrong with that the government playing a large role? republicans have seized on some concerns out there. that they will have to pay in some capacity to cover other people. there are concerns that medicare would be cut to pay for the uninsured. host: unions have an ad campaign today, listing things that they what like a public insurance option. are we going to hear a lot of voices now, unions and insurance
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companies, are they going to increase? guest: definitely. many of these groups have held back their ad campaign dollars until now. this is the crunch time, they will have to decide whether or not they are for the bill or against the bill. unions are not fond of the max baucus bill. the new president has been adamant that the public option needs to be in the bill. he is putting a lot of political capital into this effort to get congress to pass a public option. there are some legitimate claims, you cannot pass a pure
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public option in congress, but there is also an argument that if there is no public option you will not get any votes. there is likely to be some kind of hybrid. caller: good morning. please do not cut me off. we only get on a couple of times for year. everyone is yelling about tort reform. the majority of viewers are middle and lower income. do they realize that 36 states now have tort reform? texas has the most rigid tort reform and some of the highest health care costs in the country. we know the doctors have the highest of koalas and in drug abuse rates. can you make a living with one
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leg? give me a break. guest: there are definitely critics of court reform. there was an effort a few years ago, it came close to capping damages at $250,000. there is an issue of what the state laws already have on the books. the legislature got bogged down on whether proponents would say that the data supports the claim that it brings down costs, saying the government money through malpractice reform, basically that bill would save $54 billion, which did not include the private insurance industry and market. they're saying that it would
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save over $100 billion that you could put towards the uninsured. these concerns over caps, or a leg being cut off, that the most he would get would be to wonder thousand dollars. trial lawyers have been very concerned about the president's rhetoric on that issue. host: health care fatigues spreading on capitol hill, how significant is that? guest: congress joggles so many issues at the same time. in the last few months everything else has been shelved. a huge transportation bill, climate change is not going to
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pass this year. it was a very different beginning this year when the white house was criticized for seeking to much. now we are seeing the winnowing. even though it is only the middle of october, towards the end of this session there is only one bill they are working on. staffers, reporters, lawmakers, this issue is so complex, certainly for members who are not on the committee, they need to get up to speed on this in the weeds terminology. many people i've said in recent weeks that there just not. -- many people have said in recent weeks that they are just not. host: are americans being included in this? is there a risk of the tea in the public?
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guest: some seem to feel that the only way that they can get their voice heard is to attend a town hall. democrats call this artificial grass roots efforts, staged to embarrass democrats, set up so that the media would only report if there was a confrontation. certainly the reaction from the american people has overwhelm some lawmakers. comments yesterday, about how they have never worked on a bill that has affected the entire economy, they are getting a lot of concern from their constituents. certainly you have to have your voice heard. you have got to be persistent to give members of congress to listen. while shopping they get stopped
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and held up for an hour, half of an hour, by the people. host: next caller. caller: i agree that this is a complex subject. there is a lot of money in health care. my suggestion to everyone would be a simplistic way to handle this. you will have to take some responsibility yourself. my suggestion would be to do what i did. i continue to be healthy, when i was young i was healthy, i just took catastrophic health insurance coverage. they look at it the same way they look at social security, there might not be health care by the time they get old enough to enjoy it. they do not want to have charges
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for the cost to them. yet there is going to be a penalty. they will have to pay cost. if everyone just got catastrophic according to what they could afford, just having some money in the bank in the event you have to go, it would help to reduce the cost of medical care. it would be sustainable for everybody in the budget. guest: that is an issue that lawmakers have been up front and center about in the health-care debate. for years many people have said that lawmakers and policy makers in whichever administration is and really need to purchase long-term care insurance. obviously, the younger that you are that you buy it, the cheaper it is over the course of your lifetime.
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the problem that many people point out is that people do not buy it because they do not feel that they need it, that they are healthy, or they do not want to put money into an insurance program that they feel they will get no benefit for, or they have no disposable income for it. when you look at the health care system policies and think about how to fix it, one of the ways there is a solution that is hard to get to is to promote long- term care insurance. host: john, from florida. good morning. caller: good morning. i have two questions. is there anything in the present bill or in the house bill that would push the eligibility age for medicare? but i am 59 years old. -- i am 59 years old, i know that the age has been pushed
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back to participate in medicare earlier. i think i am deserving of it. that here in florida we have drug importation. republicans finally gave in because the people demanded it. if they want to bend down lacoste curve they should provide drug importation provisions. guest: on the first issue about a medicare by and, of -- buy in, it has been discussed in the past by the clinton administration, allowing seniors to buy in to medicare. part of the plan would cover people not already eligible
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through the various health exchanges, but as of this moment some people think that if they could not pass a huge bill they might go for the full option, which could be one of the things that they do, expanding medicare and medicaid. they are moving forward on this comprehensive bill, they do not want to go on a scaled-back option. john mccain is one of the main backers, pushing harry reid to allow him to propose an amendment on the floor on various bills. finally he got a commitment from harry reid to allow the amendment on health care reform bill. this is an unusual situation for the white house, barack obama campaigning for drug importation. as part of a deal with the pharmaceutical industry, they
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would basically give up $80 billion of this revenue from the government's in various payment formulas. that is going to be very interesting, to see how that vote occurs in the senate. that is an amendment that could pass, but they say that if you get your drugs from other countries, some are you think about the safe. -- some argue they could not be safe. host of democratic line, maryland. caller: -- host: democratic line, maryland. caller: my sister had ovarian cancer. i can understand the
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disappointment and the sadness. my sister has worked for the superior court for 30 years. when she retired they did not make much money. they went up on her health care from the beginning. they did not want to take her to get checked out. they procrastinated even after she was diagnosed, they procrastinated in paying for further diagnoses. after they gave the approval it took almost six months. at that time the tumors had metastasized. we feel that if she had been checked out and had had timely health care at the time, as well
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as a diagnosis, it would have helped. maybe the cancer would not have metastasized. i am just saying that something has to be done. my sister died, of course, but it was too late. like i said, it took five or six months. she had blue cross, blue shield. i was hoping to take care of her. the time she was paying $48 per month. -- she was paying $48 per month. after she was diagnosed her
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paycheck -- her bill went up to $111 per month. guest: the insurance industry has been attacked for many years. a while back they were talking about a patient's bill of rights that almost happen. there are a lot of stories out there, it was the basis for the michael moore movie, "sicko." countries with a national or socialize program, clearly whether it is pre-existing rates, americans want change. what kind of change?
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people saying that the american health care system is innovative, but republicans do not say that it should not be changed, they simply disagree with the way the democrats want to change it. caller: good morning. i know that you will not give me enough time to say everything i have to say on this issue. host: we are short of time. caller: any republican that would vote on this measure is an idiot. the reason the democrats are not passing the bill on the rhone -- on their own is they do not want to take responsibility. if this falls on its face they do not want to be involved by themselves. changes can be made without this
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mammoth program they are trying to push through that will allow work. it will cost too much money. go back to the 1950's and 1960's, where they had catastrophic policies. i cannot remember a time during the raising of those kids that i did not have a doctor's bill or a dentist bill. host: one of the things that we saw with the stimulus package this year, only three republicans voted for the passage in the house or the senate. the track at this health care reform bill is on, and it is true that democrats have the votes if they are unified on the issue. they could get it through the house.
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this will be president obama's bill. the other interesting factor of the bill that will not go into effect is that it will not go into effect until after the next presidential lection. . host: bob, managing editor for the hill, thank you for being with us. coming next, our guest from the u.s. chamber of congress. now an update.
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>> president obama meets with his national security team today as he continues reviewing strategies for u.s. policy in afghanistan and pakistan. meanwhile, political reports that the chairman of the appropriations committee is backing away from previous statements which opposed an increase in military presence, this following his trip this week to the region. he now says that he backs the generals assessment of the situation there and his call for more troops. more support in the afghan region coming from great britain. in remarks earlier in the british house of commons prime minister gordon brown announced they're sending 350,000 more troops there saying that it is conditional upon other allies bearing their fair share. >> c-span original feature
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length documentary now available on dvd, on the supreme court. learn about the role of the court and its history through interviews with all 11 current and retired supreme court justices. take a tour of the building including the grand public spaces. visit the private places only accessible to the justices and the staffing of the supreme court, home to america's highest court. get your copy today. "washington journal" continues. host: david is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the chamber of commerce. guest: thank you for having me. host: you are here to talk about the free enterprise campaign. what is it? guest: it is a multi-year campaign we're launching today
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to emphasize and address the problem with the public about what the role of free enterprise is in our economy, and its importance getting the nation back on its feet. we are having difficult times of the moment as a nation. significant unemployment and economic problems. what will get us out of it is free enterprise and business. in this environment businesses the answer, not the problem. fundamentally, this is back to the future for the u.s. chamber. the nearly 100-year old institution has done just this for the majority of the time. this is essentially going back to the long-term mission of the u.s. chamber of commerce. host: do you feel like free enterprise is in trouble? guest: people are questioning
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it, given the economic circumstances of last year. people are concerned about what is happening to the free enterprise system, but also there's a lot of misunderstanding about what it means to the general public, to our long-term prosperity, innovation, growth. and most particularly what it means for jobs. we estimate we will need 20 million new jobs for this economy over the next 10 years. we will need at least 13 million to capture the population growth. where are those 20 million going to come from? not from the government or for non-profits. i work for a non-profit, but we're not hiring the many people.
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it will come from business and the private sector. what kind of policies will we have in place to incentivize that job growth, to incentivize innovation? host: our guests can take your phone calls this hour. what is the cost of the campaign that the chamber of commerce is investing in? guest: this is a multi-year deal. we plan to raise $100 million for the campaign. so far fund-raising has gone well. we're pleased that people feel the need to get back, to educate the public about free enterprise. to support advertising, a grass
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roots, research efforts. we are in this for the long term. host: what do you envision these 20 million jobs looking like? is there a sector, industry you are particularly looking to? guest: no, that will be determined by the market. it will be everything from your corner bakery store to major, multi-national corporations. at the end of the day people have to understand those 20 million jobs will be driven by the vitality of the private sector. if not, we will not get those jobs. host: what do you see as government's role? guest: washington has helped in this time of crisis. at the end of the day, the
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fundamental role of washington is to develop policies to help the growth over the long term. they need to figure i have to give free enterprise growing again. host: let's go to james on the line for democrats from atlanta, georgia. caller: hi, how are you doing? we helped the car companies and everybody, now we need to help the small businesses. they are we going to get america back working. all these mom-and-pop stores, and these businesses, and then they trickle back up, they
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handle a lot of people. we need to help the small businesses and more jobs. guest: we absolutely agree. it is quite true that small businesses are the primary generator of jobs in this country. we supported the stimulus package, although was not universally popular with our membership. we supported the deal for the automobile companies. if you do not do the big things for the economy, it does trickle down-believe to small businesses which do not have the businesses, customer base. -- it does trickle-down to the small businesses. you're right that we need to focus on small businesses because that is where most of these 20 million jobs will come from. host: the independent line,
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clearwater, florida. caller: good morning, sir. years ago when a boy graduated from high school and was unable to go to college he was able to work on the production line. pay social security, medicare, everything else. now the production lines the longer exist. these young boys and girls graduating from college or high school -- where the going to work? there is nothing for them to do. years ago we had production lines where we were able to learn something and be working and still have an income. now we have nothing because it is all gone to china. here we are, against communism, yet we support the biggest communist country in the world. guest: the answer to that will
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be education and training. we have a vigorous education program at the u.s. chamber where we emphasize not only post-graduate -- post-high school education, but also k-12 to get people ready for this economy. people talk about manufacturing having left the country. manufacturing and exporting our happening more than ever, actually. but the employment has not increased commensurately because of efficiency and productivity gains. even the jobs in manufacturing require people to run computers, know math, write. you need to be educated to be on the production line right now. first and foremost we need to work on educating and training the workforce. when we pulled state and local chambers of around the country,
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other than issues about the recession and a general unemployment, the number one issue for members across the country is work force preparedness. access to well-trained workers. the answer to the problem you have raised is firstly education. host: how does that fit into the free enterprise campaign t? guest: two boys. we need 20 million people who are prepared and trained, ready to work. that is primary education, after high school, community college, four-year colleges -- the whole range. frankly, we also have an educational component to the campaign where we are having to educate people again about what business and free enterprise are all about. host: how are you reaching out
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to young people? guest: through all the modern mechanisms with social networking, and new media. but also partnering with organizations that already reach into the schools, junior achievement and other folks. host: rich is on the republicans line calling from fairfax, va. caller: thank you for taking my call. three quick points -- the gentleman is talking about 20 million jobs. i owned a business. we build houses in virginia. we have work right now. it is surprising because some other companies do not. the whole idea of trying to create 20 million jobs when we have illegal aliens in the country -- the more i listen to
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your show which i dearly love, and yesterday i heard people calling to talk about an aristocracy -- the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poor -- we need to try to keep work that stays here in the country. we are exporting it. this gentleman, sir, i understand, but think you are a little out of touch with what the previous guy said about small businesses. we're helping the class right of the living that has made the rich rich. i feel like common sense is gone in this country. another gentleman called to say people used to be able to leave high school. where are grip they had votech or you would if you did not go to college. those jobs are gone.
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-- where i grew up. we do geo-thermal work now rather than hvac. there is excavating, all kinds of things that have to be done. we need to look inward to employ american citizens instead of sending jobs overseas. guest: yes, fundamentally our core argument is that we will need to create 20 million new jobs over the next 10 years, period. we need to replace 7 million that have been lost in this economy, we need to add 13,000,004 population growth. if we begin with the basic need which is not a fact any of us will change, how are we going to do that? we think the answer must be
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fostering free enterprise growth in this country. most particularly, at the small business level. we need businesses to grow, need our economy to grow. that is how we will get to those 20 million jobs. government will not do this for us, neither will non-profits. as business leaders, we will have to create these jobs. we will need policies here in washington that allow that to happen. host: let's go to new york city with jim on the line for democrats. caller: first of all, sir, the first mis-statement said was about the manufacturing base. in the last decade it has dropped from 18% from the gdp down to 14%. the no, sir, we're not manufacturing more goods now than we did a decade ago.
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the biggest problem is three republican administrations and only one democratic administration. you have allowed the justice department to allow monopolies in this country over and over again. there is very little free enterprise in this country anymore. it just does not exist. maybe there is free enterprise as to whether i can buy a slice of pizza at one restaurant or another and one guy will not charge me tax and another will -- that is the only time i have seen free enterprise work in this country. a good example right now -- i am in the entertainment business -- there's a case before the justice department between the merger of one nation and ticketmaster. if the obama administration allows this you have another monopoly in this country. guest: i disagree on a couple points. first of all, on the percentage
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of gdp for manufacturing, i understand your argument, but i think it has to do with the overall growth in gdp. manufacturing at large -- we are manufacturing more. we are exporting more. that is different than the jobs question. people don't realize we're manufacturing a lot in this country. with regard to the anti-trust issue, we have always agreed with vigorous enforcement of anti-trust rules. i'm not sure there is anything about this campaign that would undermine those laws. host: the president is promoting a consumer protection agency and today barney frank begins to take a look on its
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proposal along with his committee. guest: we are not in favor of a consumer financial protection agency because if the financial sector -- there have been too many regulators. with the various agencies -- the answer to consumer protection is not to add yet another uber- regulator. if we need more regulation, what are the various agencies and regulators doing? the answer cannot always be to add another. suddenly, the proposed mandate is extraordinarily vague. we did some advertisements which
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the president noted negatively. we talk about the corner butcher. no one has been able to show us where the law does not cover the corner butcher. the revised bill being marked up is extraordinarily vague. it deals with almost any kind of transaction between business and consumer. our problem with regulation is not that we have a lack of regulators. we think we have too many. >> in the financial system that has never been more complicated, it has never been more important to have a watchdog function like the one we have proposed. yet predictably, a lot of the banks and big financial firms do not like the idea of a consumer
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agency. in fact, the u.s. chamber of commerce is spending millions on an advertising campaign to kill it. you might have seen some. the ones that claim that the local butcher and other small businesses will be harmed by this agency. this is of course, completely false. we made clear that only businesses that offer financial services would be affected by this agency. i don't know how many of you are butchers who are offering financial services. contrary to what some have argued, this agency would not restrict consumer choice and innovation. nothing could be further from the truth. guest: the law does not limit it to financial services agencies. we're talking about two proposals. the words of the original draft.
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-- there was the original draft. they have tried to limit it of the last couple of days. we respect the president. the chamber has been neighbors with the president over 100 years. sometimes we agreed, and sometimes we disagree. host: let's go to florida. caller: thank you for c-span. i listen to it every day. have you feel as far as the discrepancy between salaries -- the ceos making 5000 times more than workers. but seems most of these along with the board of directors have lost their focus on what really capitalism is. let me make this one quote from
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henry ford -- i think every automobile whistle, not in terms of profit, but in terms of the useful service id may render the purchaser -- -- every automobile we sell -- therefore, what is going on with these people making millions with the average worker making less? most of the time the ceos are looking at ways to get rid of the labour people and get more from other countries guest: there certainly are some bad examples of people who did bad jobs and got paid a lot. that will happen, in every circumstance and profession. every company was the quarterback who will take them to the super bowl.
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you cannot just look at examples where people get paid a lot and fail. there are many where people did great things and made a lot of money. is every circumstance profit? no, but what is the answer? we don't think the government will be better at the siding salaries then the marketplace or board of directors. there are people who decide what is the correct compensation for executives. we need to leave it to them. there is no historic precedent for saying the government will be better at doing this. with regard to the wages of employees, absolutely. in terms of take-home pay there has been some flattening of wages. if you look at overall
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compensation paid by which is to include health care benefits, it has been going up steadily. wages are displaced by healthcare costs. we have to address some core competitiveness issues in our economy. host: our guest is david chavern. david is calling from monroe, louisiana, on the republican line. caller: i have worked with the chamber with both large corporations and as an independent owner. i noticed the chamber clean heavily towards the large corporations because of their financial input -- lean heavily towards them. i just wonder where you stand n the issue of helping the small
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businesses. have you ever allied yourself with other organizations such as the small business administration? i ask this in light of other viewers who have mentioned the struggle of small businesses. it seems like your organization has been they're politically helping the larger corporations at the expense of small ones. guest: let me tell you about our membership. there have been press articles about it the last couple of days. we have approximately 300,000 members across the country and to some extent outside the u.s. about 3000 our state associations and chambers. we probably have between 5000 and 10,000 large companies.
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but everyone else are small businesses. they are the bedrock upon which we stand and always have stood. we are four principles that foster overall economic growth in the economy. most particularly for small businesses, but for everything. we work really hard to focus on the interests of small businesses and have an active program and outreach effort. so, while it can sometimes seem like all these policy debates between big companies, we try to work hard to keep an eye on what small businesses need. we certainly do work with the whole range. we're probably one of the largest small-business
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organizations in the country. host: diane is calling for georgia on the line for democrats. caller: i suspect this is a big push back because the chamber is afraid of more enforcement or fear of more regulation. here in georgia, right here in my county, we have had the yellow river flood. it is at flood stage right now. many have lost their home here and in surrounding counties. it is a direct result of the sprawl and over-growth of the county's north of us. it was predicted by many different groups, just as in new orleans. it was predicted because there was an unrestricted -- no regulation -- unrestricted growth.
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the chamber was one of the big backers. you could not tell people what to do. "over-regulation would cost money." now the taxpayers will pick up the tab -- 75%. fema will pay for, which means me, the taxpayer. 25% will be raised by state and local taxes to fix it. all in the name of deregulation. and the push for unbridled growth. guest: there is probably one issue we don't get into much -- land use. i served on the city council in falls church, virginia for several years. we had a similar problem. there's tremendous development in fairfax which causes a
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watershed here. ultimately when you get to local land use issues the biggest driver tends to be the landowners. they want to sell to people who can develop in the most profitable way. local chambers and government weighs the interests of lenders against those indicted. from sitting in the hours of meetings in my little town it is hard. i'm sorry you're facing flooding there, but i can sympathize. no, the u.s. chamber's this not against all regulation. we need good, smart regulation. not a regulation that squashes the engine of growth. host: here's a comment from
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twitter. it follows up on the previous question. is the chamber concerned at all with the rates workers make? guest: again, it is a hard question. we don't think it is going to be the government to figure it out. we have to work on making sure workers are trained and health- care costs are under control. getting economic growth so that workers are in demand. it did a shortage and wages will go up. you cannot just tap people's pay or regulated. we have to move the economy.
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over the long term it will work out. host: let's go to steve in cottonwood, ariz. caller: you are right that we need smart regulation, but the problem is we have too many ridiculous regulations. the first thing, we have to lower this corporate tax. we're the second highest in the world? i hear that obama is planning to raise it after the bush thing goes out -- i believe about 40%. the last time i spoke on this program was with the vice president of the epa which has too much control over corporations.
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the restrictions push corporations overseas. guest: i could not agree with you more on the corporate tax. the corporate tax code is broken, flatly. it is deeply and competitive with corporate taxes around the world. there is a whole range of areas where we need regulation. a perfect example is the financial meltdown we had in 2008. at its core there was a failure of good regulation. we were talking about that well- before 2008. how you get smart, well-focused regulation? adding more and blaring, while an easy answer, is not right. -- adding more and layering is
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not right. host: you recently lost apple. we have a story from green, inc. apple has become the latest company to resign over climate policy. the vice president of worldwide affairs says we strongly object to the timbers, objecting to the epa's movement to limit greenhouse gases. there are several other companies that have left the chamber. is that a concern for you? guest: frankly, it is always unfortunate when companies leave the chamber. they leave every day. and companies join the chamber every day. i can tell you that more doing them leave, so that works out well for us. usually companies do not issue press releases when they leave.
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but i guess that is the environment we are in. i'm sorry a couple of members decided to leave. frankly, what they were leaving about related to our objection to the epa using the clean air act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. we don't think the clean air act -- it was not designed or intended to regulate carbon emissions. lisa jackson, the epa administrator has said that. all ranger regulators has sayid- a whole range of regulators has said that the epa is not the right venue. host: let's go to columbia, tenn., where will is calling on the line for republicans. caller: yes, good morning.
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thank you both for providing us an opportunity. i want to say that c-span is a window for all the citizens of america to look at our government and see what is going on. i am so thankful for c-span is program and to cable. a couple of things i want to speak to your guest about. number one, ever since world war ii through the 1980's we had a great deal of free enterprise. many small businesses rose to be big corporates. you had individuals like ralph nader, consumer advocates who tried to show problems. but our government also knew what was going on and somehow there was not a relationship between the government and the people. today there is a backlash of court action so bad there will
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be a terrible fall for this country. the problem is, you have these giant corporations that are filled with so many lobbyists protecting their own greed and corruption. they are going to the government. the government has senators and representatives who are going into the lobbyist business that open up for all kinds of other corruption. it is like a cancer spreading. it is not letting free enterprise do what it should. one example, wal-mart when it came into power -- it just destroyed every small business in little community towns and cities. now they have all the power. it is branching out internationally.
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host: let's get a response. guest: i would jump in in defense of both lobbying and walmart. there is a lot of rhetoric about lobbyists. there have always been lobbyist in town since the founding of the republic. the represent everyone, all sorts -- people always talk about lobbyists for business, but there are those for the environmental groups and laborers. it is all about getting back to how you interact with government. there has been a lot of demonizing of business lobbyists who represent their clients' interests. frankly, at the end of the day the lobbyists kind of cancel out
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each other. with regard to walmart, while you may not like their business they also run a business many people do like. they bring high-quality, low- cost goods to people all across the country. they get lobbied by people every day to open more stores. in their stand your perspective. it is hard to demonize them when they employed so many people and provide goods people want. host: robert, calling on the line for democrats from st. louis. caller: i have been on disability for several years. because of that i have learned a few things. i thought of a new business, but i need help. people have suggested calling the chamber of commerce. i would like to know exactly what the chamber of commerce can do for someone who may not have
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money but would like to start something. could you speak on that? guest: yes, when people talk about chambers they oftentimes refer to their local chamber. many of those are members of hours but are separate. they can let you know about the state and local programs to help get small businesses off the ground. many states have programs for low-cost lending. in other ways to incentivize small businesses. if you call the u.s. chamber of commerce and ask for our small business programs -- or look on our website with a small business tool sets where we talk about federal programs through government organizations. they incentivize and provide various forms of financing. other advice and support.
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i would recommend you to start with your local chamber. moved up from there. we need more businesses and growth. then join your chamber. you can support the next guy. host: how long do you expect your free enterprise campaign to last, and what will make it a success? guest: we will clearly pursue this at least through 2012. that will be the 100th anniversary of the timber. if you look at our long-term history we have done this off and on for decades. the anniversary of the chamber. we have an initial time frame through 2012. in terms of what would be a success, not only the 20 million jobs. it would be getting real understanding among policymakers
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and the general public about how critically important and fragile the free enterprise system is. we have to care and feed the system to have prosperity going for it. host: thanks for being with us. guest: think you for having me. "washington journal" will be right back. >> c-span set 2010 as did cam
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contest is here -- student cam contest is there. create a 5-8 minute video which shows a bearing points of view and incorporates c-span programming. winning entries will be shown on c-span. good to the website for contest rules. >> thursday, we'll take your calls for former tennessee republican whose new book is "a hard to serve." also the princeton university on his boat, and the more. it begins every morning at 7:00 a.m., live on c-span. host: our topic for the rest of the hour is that the u.s. military has met its recruitment goals.
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we would like to hear from you. the washington paper reports it is likely to ease burdens on trips. they reported the biggest surge in crude since the end of the draft, an increase that will likely relieve pressure on those serving in iraq and afghanistan by allowing them to spend more time at home during overseas deployments. how serious do you think this is? the think it will ease the pressure? give us a call. coming up in our next hour we will have senator mary landrieu of louisiana, talking about the president's upcoming visit. and a former executive and public relations person for the healthcare industry who is now critical of some of the insurance companies' goals.
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"the washington post" -- military recruiting in the midst of downturn, all targets are met. this is the first time in nearl35 years that the u.s. mily has met all of its annual recruiting goals. several factors have led more qualified youths to most. -- to enlist. let's go to uniontown, pa., for
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the independents' line. caller: the economic downturn is a boon to the military and will increase enlistments. this fellow said that manufacturing is up in this country. most of it has to do with the military complex. most manufacturing is weapons- related. basically our whole economy is turning to finance and war. host: let's go to josh in santa rosa, on the line for democrats. caller: this disturbs me because humans are used as quotas and these guys lie.
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another we have to get soldiers and it is necessary, but it saddens me that there are quotas by these guys to act like salesmen. they lie. host: what the thing should be disclosed by recruiters? caller: are really just don't think they should be paid more money to get more kids in. the should be more honest. if they see a kid who they know will have trouble they should not try to get them in. there are a lot of people who are not made for the military. host: continuing with this " washington post" article -- it is hard to say how much stress it can take as it navigates and chartered waters. a senior fellow at the brookings institution says there's no
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telling how much pressure of desertion it can take. the quality of recruits has improved by 95%. so, there is a difference there. let's go to the next call in jacksonville, n.c., david, on the line for republicans. caller: it is great their meeting their it needed levels, but it does not change because the congress has to be the one to expand on the number who can come into the military. to be sure it will bring in more to put it into the training pipeline, but if we will expand
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the military it means more funding. also, the one caller who just mentioned bringing people in who are just breathing -- i'm a retired navy capt. we don't bring in anyone who is beating. they have to go through attitude examinations, physical qualifications. it offers a great opportunity to expand their own experience. host: did you work as a recruiter? caller: no, i did not. but i counselled many after they came in who had questions. it was my job to give them inside and observations as well as direction on career advancement. host: let's go to maggie on the independent line from lansing, mich. caller: i'm calling in regard to
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the bill they just passed for health care. i don't think they should force anybody to take insurance, whether health or whatnot. this is a free country. i agree with that guy in tennessee, too, who called in. host: our topic right now is that the u.s. military has met its recruitment goals. the defense department spent about $10,000 per recruit with the army's been in more than double that at $22,000. in recent years they cited the intensity of the fighting in iraq as dampening interest.
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there you think the war in a canister and might change the dynamic as we look at recruitment goals? let's go to tom on the line for democrats calling from maryland. caller: i am a former army officer and proud of my uniform, proud to be a member of the military. to make people have to go to war to feed their families and kill other people's families it is so sad. this war in afghanistan is not something we should be involved in to the extent we put so many trips. the counter-insurgency, yes. but put masses of troops into an area where they get one person -- it does not make sense to me.
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i think america should stop and think. i appreciate your time. host: mark is on the line for republicans calling from canton, ohio. caller: i want to take exception from the gentleman who said that recruiters lie to potential recruits. i was a navy recruiter for four years and now retired from the navy. you hear that all the time. recruiters are under close scrutiny by supervisors. if recruiters get caught doing some sort of large or small lie they can be kicked out of the military. kudos to the retired navy captain who made some comments. i want to dispel, try to, that cliche. also, they don't just take
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people who breathe. there are rigid requirements. there are minimum scores are required. quite frankly, we turn away many people did to scores and physical disabilities. maybe they have a criminal past. the screening process is rigorous. host: can i ask you, mark, the think the war in afghanistan will influence recruiting levels as things heat up there? caller: yes, but in ways you not have thought about. some people cannot wait to go to war. there are those who want to be marines, or in the other branches. they may beat want to go and engage. there are others who want to join a peace-time military, so
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will not join. it is hard to quantify or have metrics. there are those who grow up and all their life, they want to be a marine because their father or grandfather were and there on the front line. people relish the idea of fighting an enemy of the united states. host: let's good to ed from odessa, texas. caller: i was recruited back in 1948 through the draft the kids today you cannot say are all voluntary because they're kind of pressure. they do not have jobs after school. so, they go into the military. the same way when the companies lay off employees. they go into the military. it is kind of pressure. it is not voluntary. host: why did you join in 1948?
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caller: pardon? because there was a draft on. host: you were drafted? caller: yes, and it was a good thing. i did not mind going. there was nothing going on but the berlin air drift, and then i got pulled into korea after that. i did not have to fight a big war, but these kids today -- going over there and getting killed, they are getting pressured and i feel sorry for them. they have nothing else to do. we have a government that would keep the business study, there are supposed to be regulators up there in washington to regulate the tone of the country, but nell a business cannot even look six months ahead to sit with the government will do. -- they're supposed to keep
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businesses steady. the cash for clunkers putt a ton of used car repair people out of business around the country. all those it used cars would have been repaired by now. they destroyed them. now you have people going out of business and the parts stores are closing. the mechanics are being laid off and joining the service. host: let's go to another part of taxes for our next call from austin, on the line for democrats. caller: of course they met their quotas. [unintelligible] these people get citizenship.
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what really bothers me is that in that can stand, without a whisper, we have a global military. we have 47 countries there. they make it sound good that everyone is helping us. we have a global military going into countries. who wields that soarword in the future? no country good or bad can go up against that. they have their quota because they are hiring people from all over the world, to a point where country can go to war and whether you support them or not by joining, it does not matter because there are enough killer in the world to get the job done. host: huntington county, new
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jersey, on the line for republicans. caller: yes, i'm just bothered the reports of this have always to be shown in a bad light so when the economy is good they say military does not meet its goals, forced to increase tofees. today i your bad economy -- that is why they are filling it. people join the military for all kinds of reasons, but they learn a lot and do a very good job. and earlier caller talked about the berlin airlift and said there was not much going on. several of those planes crashed, killing the pilot and crews. anytime you join the military there will be a risk, but there is a lot to be learned in that, too. this is a very important thing
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we're doing in afghanistan. if we are successful, then we possibly have prevented a great form of terror in the world. if we are not successful, as john mccain has said, they will come back. obama has said this is unnecessary war. the focus should be on winning it. host: coming up in the next hour, wendell, a former executive in the insurance industry. next up will be senator mary landrieu of louisiana. >> the commerce department has just released retail numbers for september the show a drop of 1.5%, the biggest decline in nine months as automobile sales fell off. it was smaller than what economists expected. vice-president joe biden is meeting with general patricia is
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on the afghanistan. this is the head of the president's meeting with the security team on u.s. policy. the same subject was addressed earlier in the british house of commons where gordon brown announced that britain will send 500 more troops to afghanistan on the condition that the other allies do their share. it will take britain's total deployment of to 95 under. on her last day in russia, secretary of state hillary clinton spoke to students at moscow state university on freedom, and also addressed the possibility of sanctions against iran on an interview of "good. morning good" . .
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host: senator mary landrieu, a democrat from louisiana, thanks for being with us this morning. president obama's first trip to louisiana as president comes this week. what are you hoping he gets to see inexperience? -- seat and experience? guest: i am glad that he is honored his promise to visit with in the first year. we think the situation on the gulf coast is paramount not only to people who live there, millions of people, but because one day, a catastrophic disaster is going to happen again somewhere in the united states. we are really appreciative that the president is making this a
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priority he is also traveling with cabinet secretaries who have been there numerous times. we are very happy. we wish it could have been longer, we wish he could have stayed longer to see more sites throughout the region. but he will be visiting a school and other things and having a town hall, so we will be looking forward to it. what is happening in new orleans is quite exciting. we had one of the worst public school systems in the nation -- low graduation rates, low morale, poor retention of teachers, not a high quality of teachers in our system. that is all changing as we build, almost transformed the public education system to go to a more independent public school charter model. we now have over 60% of our children in charter schools, and almost 100% of our children in
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new transformed the public schools. the state of louisiana actually led the nation in this new accountability -- officials to see accountability and high test scores -- trying to think of the word i'm thinking of -- transparency of test scores and accountability. when the storm hit, we had ceded some of this reform, so instead of building the old system, we are building a new system. that is what the president and the secretary arne duncan are visiting two different schools, but the same model of excellence. we think that louisiana is well- positioned for the top of funding. but again, it points to the recovery. when you have a catastrophic disaster, we do not want to rebuild the simple things that are there. we want to smartly used taxpayer
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money to rebuild with local funding and state funding new and more vibrant, whether it is a new and more vibrant health care system, in new and more vibrant education system, port facilities, etc. that would be smarter approach than rebuilding the same old same old after every storm. host: what do you want to see the federal government do for louisiana in the recovery effort? guest: the fed toward government has sent a great deal of funding, and that can be a blessing and curse. if it is not set through the right sources and right way, a lot of it can be wasted. the former administration, under president bush's lack of leadership in this way -- a lot of that money was wasted. there are very troubling ig reports about it. but what president obama is doing and his cabinet is focusing on strategic planning and stretching those dollars, making wise decisions, building on a volunteer partnerships,
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leveraging private sector dollars, whether it is in housing or health care or education or coastal restoration, which is very important. we are encouraged -- c-spai am encouraged -- it seems like they do not have katrina fatigue, which the former administration had feared they have katrina -- which the former administration have. they have katrina intrigue. we are generally very pleased with the direction the recovery is going in. while we don't necessarily need more money, we need it spend better and we need it ia partner with private dollars in the private sector more strategically. host: let us go to new orleans, on the independent line. caller: yes, hello. senator , it is nice to talk
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to you print it is so hard to corral you in your office. you are the only person, only elected official in louisiana, that has not stated anything on the issue of the fed, and the rest are for it. they have signed on for the auditing of the fed. i would like you to state now where you are on this. are you in favor of the auditing of the fed or not? guest: i am not sure i understand it and auditing of the federal government or the fed or reserve -- the federal reserve? i'm sorry but i don't understand the question. i'm not familiar with any ongoing audit. but if you call the new orleans office and ask my manager, we will try to get an answer to you.
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i have supported open government and transparency and audits and reviewing most of the reports that come in. i'm not exactly familiar with that. if you call the office, we will get back to you as soon as we can. host: rhode island, chris on the democrats hundred line. caller: the last caller was talking about putting the federal reserve, which most of the congress has signed onto. it already meets in half of the congress so that it bypasses the need for the president even to be involved in it. are you going to sign on to that? guest: first of all, i am not obligated to sign anything, even if the majority of congress has done it i will take a look at it. i'm just not familiar with it. hcaller: the governor of
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louisiana refused to allow the military to declare martial law within the state of louisiana after the last hurricane that hit louisiana. that was great, because that was in line with the act that gave the power of governors to supersede the federal government's desire to declare martial law. do you support that act? my second question was -- the first question was do you support the rights of governors to decide for themselves whether or not to declare martial law, or do you think obama should have the right when it is a natural disaster? guest: i did support governor kathleen blanco's decision to take control of her own state. i found it quite offensive that the president did not ask the governor of alabama, republican, or the governor of mississippi, who is a republican, to seek
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control of their states to him, but did so to the democratic governor kathleen blanco. on the other hand, it is very important when you have a catastrophic situation like we had to have the best possible coordination between local, federal, and state officials so that people don't suffer, we can get people rescued, evacuated, and then start rebuilding. we learned a great lesson in katrina. our federal officials are doing a better job. secretary napolitano is going to be in new orleans tomorrow with the president. this will be her third, maybe for the visit to this region on this issue exactly, had to get -- how to get state and federal and local law enforcement into one unified force. host: we have a special phone line for louisiana residents.
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republicans can also call in. and democrats and the independent line. let us go to baton rouge on the independent-m -- independent line. caller: i do not consider myself a democrat or republican. the consider myself an independent. first of all, with health care, honestly, i would urge you to support it. the reason is i'm paying my insurance through lsu, and it is really a lot. if we could get a better deal, i would really appreciate that. second thing is i am happy that the president is coming down here, but the education in
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louisiana is really lacking. i have personally seen it. we get to go to elementary schools. when i come into contact with all of these students, it is really, i don't know -- like, if you see the potential, but the resources, whenever they get, it is not equality, in my opinion. i am pretty sure it is not the fault of the parents of the teachers, but it is that a factor. it makes the whole system lacking. guest: thank you very much, and you have hit on a great point. i have spent many years on this, and we are making progress, but
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it is not fast enough and we want to accelerate it. that is why i am excited about president obama's focus on transforming the nation's public schools. as i was sharing with libby and some of our viewers earlier, new orleans parish is leading the nation in new approaches to transformational public schools. baton rouge has a growing cadre of civic leaders devoted to this. thank you for volunteering and public schools. i did a lot of that myself. but sometimes it is the problem of the teachers. sometimes it is poor administration. sometimes it is lack of nurturing and discipline from parents. it is a combination of things. but there are no excuses. every child can learn. we know there are strategies that can be applied. all i can say is that i will do everything i can to support this administration's agenda and promote the local efforts in
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baton rouge under way now. host: tell us about coastal restoration. guest: this is one of the areas that our state is very concerned about. we have made progress on six of the levees that have been broken. but we are far from where we need to be on a robust, dedicated stream of revenue, which i will talk about in just a minute. we desperately need to fix this large-scale problem, complex problem. but we also need a new approach to more quickly design and build multiple projects, whether they are restoration's of marshes, levees that provide one level of protection around cities and communities, better future land use planning, and then the internal management of water. the netherlands has really figured this out. that is quite right after
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katrina, i that a delegation and i have been back since and am planning to go again. while the netherlands is a much smaller country than the united states, it reflects a lot of the same topography and challenges of the gulf coast. it is a dull thud -- it is a delta, it drains europe. we have literally tons of water coming through our state. not only for the benefit of the people that called louisiana home, but for the benefit of the whole nation, we have got to get this right. and we can. dutch engineers have figured it out. american engineers certainly can. we have had to have better coordination. it is why i called for the president to organize an interagency working group, which has been done. it has been announced. we are coming up with a really
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hopefully transformational strategies. this will be a benefit not just to louisiana and the new orleans region, but potentially places like washington state. i was with friends maria cantwell from washington. we were talking about this last night. there are challenges in the chesapeake, challenges in washington state, coastal challenges that are not being served well by the stove pipe to annual appropriation that is kind of hit and miss. we need a much more comprehensive approach. i'm very proud of lisa jackson, the new administrator of epa, who went with me to the netherlands and she is coming up with great ideas about how to approach this better. host: story in "usa today" talking about what you were speaking of. it talks about what it calls a
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novel way to protect areas from storms by barricading the region with barrier islands and marshes and cypress trees. that could change the way they approach protection. guest: it takes more than levees to protect new orleans. it takes the barrier islands, which we have lost at alarming rates. it takes the cypress marshes that will brutally cut down thousands and thousands of acres in cypress trees ended early part of the century the need to be replenished co. we know how to do that. we knew how to use wastewaters to get the trees to grow more quickly. scientists are figuring out ways to make places we lived sustainable. but it is going to take a commitment from this president
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and a serious effort from this administration, much like what is happening in the everglades and what we are trying to get done in the chesapeake, to help us break for this bureaucracy and then assigned a significant revenue streams so that we do not have to rely on the local, annual appropriations which sometimes, and sometimes do not. host: let us go to our democratic caller from illinois. welcome. caller: good morning. i am in transit between different places. i'm a registered democrat and oklahoma, but i'm a retired military officer. i have experience with one of the hurricanes off the coast of new jersey. guest: thank you for your service.
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caller: 0, thank you. i listened to your last hour and was very good, the recruiting part. i think they should really go to a draft again. but that is another subject. the point is that a lot of these problems from the corps of engineers, the distribution of the funds, the federal funds, stem from the fact that fema has traditionally released funds through the states and the local people, who determine what the priorities were. i am sure you are well aware that some of the priorities for louisiana were not to do the protection needed for the impact of all the damage of katrina. and probably it was inadequate, too, the amount of funds. the problem i see if you haven't is that -- you having is that it
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is a lot of pork barrel stuff and everybody is fighting over the funds -- the bridge to nowhere -- guest: the bridge to nowhere is not in louisiana, it is in alaska. i can absolutely assure you that the money that has come from the federal government into the we stand has been -- into louisiana has been as wisely spent as possible given the way it was sent to us from the federal government, which was not the best way. the community development block grant was the main way received money from the federal government, because president bush said he did not have time or interest or energy to fashion anything else that would be more strategic. we had to take that. under that law, we had to have the environmental protection review for every home in every neighborhood and every block before it could be spent. which is ridiculous and makes no sense. we, the local people, argued that there was a better way, but
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there was just not a lot of energy or curiosity or, in my view, a lot of intelligence in the last administration. thankfully we have more of that now in washington. we are crafting tools that are more appropriate for the task at hand, using much more sophisticated and specifically custom designs for the tasks at hand. that is going to help to save a lot of money. the local people are doing, in my view, a pretty good job when it comes to coastal restoration, pulling different teams together. we have organized all our parishes and passed a constitutional amendment to dedicate all of our revenues for this purpose that comes from offshore oil and gas revenues. what we need is for the president to say that this is a priority for him, that what happens on the coast matters to everyone. 60% of our population lives within 50 miles of the coast and many of our communities are threatened. i'm not talking about communities just on beaches.
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there is no beach 75 miles around new orleans. we are in line could we just happened to build on a low area of land next to mississippi. there are all sorts of reasons that the mississippi river was not channelled correctly with the corps of engineers. but the bottom line is that it can be fixed. we have the revenues, if we smartly use our oil and gas revenues, to help secure this coast, which is important for the whole country. it is america's energy coast. a lot of our oil and gas is produced off of this land of lot of our fisheries -- produced off of this land. a lot of our fisheries. we need a great commitment, a long-term commitment from this administration. host: we have a call from
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louisiana, a republican line. charles, good morning. caller: yes, my first comment is that i guess we should just get a rope and hang it george bush because we are going to blame everything on him for the storm. guest: not everything, but it was a lot of confusion at the federal level. the fema got sent down was not qualified for the job and congress as part of the plan -- as part of the blame for that as well. we also had a lack of leadership at the local level. there were problems at the state level. but the federal government was caught flatfooted when this storm hit, a catastrophic disaster there is no excuse for it. we are a greater nation and we should be able to do better. caller: okay, first thing -- hello?
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guest: yes, i am here. caller: for people in america listen. gov. blanco and the mayor had seen a storm brewing, and the school buses -- they knew that storm was coming in. and the governor is on her back. but what saddens me most of all out of all this, more than anything, about what took place, and i would love to talk to you for weeks, senator, is that when all them people came out and were transferred over to houston, and what took place over in houston, and the mayor of houston comes on the television, and this hurts me, said, "i wish the storm would have hit a houston with what i
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have had to put up with from the people from louisiana." that saddens me, what he said about all of these people. and they had been in the senate for years and years and years and years. no damn body did a damn thing about them levees. don't blame it on george bush. guest: let me tell you, there is a lot of blame to go round. but i can tell you absolutely emphatically that the corps of engineers build the levees and the levees broke. there were levees built by the fed for government and the system collapsed. the people of new orleans and louisiana could have survived katrina. once the storm passed, the sun came out and people were thinking that the city had escaped the major damage. it was devastating.
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but it was absolutely the fault of the fed toward government and the corps of engineers that those levees collapsed the fed -- relook government and the corps of engineers that those levees collapse -- it was absolutely the fault of the federal government and the corps of engineers that those levees collapsed. in terms of going to houston, yes, there was some problem with people evacuating, and we were disappointed by some the lawlessness that went on, but for the most part, the evacuation was the largest, most successful evacuation of any in the entire history of the country. that was conducted by local and state officials with federal help. we got pretty good marks for evacuation plan for parts of it. now, leaving people at the superdome without access, either by bus or transport, was terrible. we have learned had rescue people from urban areas, which the coast guard did not have a practice for before katrina i'm
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not blaming george bush for everything. look, i blame myself for some things. i cast appropriate blamed on local and state officials. but this federal government was caught flatfooted and that is something we will continue to work on to fix. the good thing is that we are getting better. the storms that have happened since then have had better responses, more effective recovery. but it is still a work in progress. host: last call for the senator, jason on the independent line from alabama. caller: good morning, senator. how you doing? guest: good. caller: i want to talk about jobs in louisiana. i work offshore, a deckhand on a supply boat. the industry is dead there. guest: it is. caller: they laid off 70 or 80 people, and this is a small company. i want to know what it is.
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in 2000, gas prices were where they are now, and the oil price per barrel is about where it is now. the profits are still there for the oil companies. is it the cap-and-trade threat? i mean, is it the credit crunch -- guest: i think it is a combination of that. i think you hit it mill on the head could i think it is the uncertainty in how the energy market will go forward. private capital does not know where to go. do they invest in nuclear, wind, solar? the oil and gas industry has been threatened with higher taxes that have put independence back on their heels but it is one thing i do disagree with the current administration on. it is just a combination of uncertainty, and i think the economic downturn has caused demand to drop rather sharply. but you are right. this is a ready-made, vibrant industry. if we could get our rigs
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working and focus on producing more right here at home, domestically, not only is the better for our national security, but we can get people like yourself back to work in a fairly high paying -- they are hard, but high-paying jobs. so thank you for raising that. i would like to get this out and get people back to work. it is possible, with the right kinds of political strategies. host: president obama travels to louisiana tomorrow. senator mary landrieu, thank you very much. coming up next, wendell potter, at the center of media and democracy, and a former executive in the insurance industry. we will be right back.
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>> "q&a," sunday, with columnist and commentator s.e. cupp. a couple of live hearings to tell you about on c-span 3 today. at 10:00 a.m. eastern, the t r f -- tarp executive director testifies about bonuses paid to executives at aig. later, at 2:30 p.m., federal
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deposit insurance corporation chairman sheila bair joins a panel testifying about the state of the financial industry. they will be speaking to the senate banking subcommittee on financial and students. again, that is also live on c- span 3. "washington journal" continues. host: our guest is one of potter at the center for media and democracy, a health care senior fellow. thank you for being with us. you served for a very long time as a public-relations executive. guest: i i served with the industry for almost 20 years, starting with humana and then with cigna. my most recent role was head of corporate communications at cigna. i also represented the company's i work for on a lot of trade association committees and task forces. i not only worked for the
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company's, but with my colleagues throughout the industry on the those groups. part of those committees were groups that had a charge of developing health care policy and strategy for dealing with proposals for the health care system. host: what is your goal now? you are in favor of a public option. guest: i am, and i'm trying to explain why i'm in favor of a public option and what the industry is opposed to it. and the efforts of the industry in particular to defeat health care reform, or shape it, and practices that result in more people being uninsured or underinsured. host: let's look at an advertisement by moveon.org the features you. >> i left my job because i did not want to be part of another
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effort by the health insurance companies to kill reform. take it from me -- the senate finance bill is a dream come true for the health-insurance industry. if there is no public option, insurance companies are not going to change. it is the only way to keep insurance companies on this. -- honest. host: use of the troops back come to your home state of tennessee -- you said that trips back home to your home state of tennessee change your perspective. tell us about the experience. guest: i will, and i wish that other insurance executives could have the same experience. i read in my hometown newspaper while visiting my parents about the health care expedition put on by a group that started a few years ago that took doctors to
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remote villages in brazil and the amazon and other developing countries. what i saw what i went to the fair ground gates was thousands of people lined up, and it was raining that day, but waiting to get care. a lot of the care being provided in animal stalls and bars and tents that had been set up just to accommodate the big crowd. i learned later that almost all of these people were working, and many of them had insurance. but the insurance coverage was so inadequate that they had to resort to coming to an event like this. many of them slept in their cars the night before, had driven from ohio and georgia and other places just for these three days. they got up before dawn to stand in line to get inside and hopefully see a doctor. it was that experience that made me realize that i was working for the wrong team.
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host: our first caller is dennis on the democrats' line in new york. caller: good morning, mr. potter. thank you for speaking out on "bill moyers journal." i want to give people an e-mail address to get single pair enacted. infoactdetdemoc.org. this company is giving money to politicians -- it would seem logical for those people who want -- the company's doing max baucus's bill -- i believe that people should start for cutting
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some of these companies. if it is not easy to boycott -- should start boycotting some of these companies. if it is not easy to boycott them, that american express and tell them -- in the case of the blue dog democrat on health care in the blue dog democrat caucus -- i would tell tyson foods to get mike ross to support hr76. we citizens have to take back our government to the company's that have bought and paid for politicians -- route the companies that have bought and paid for our politicians. guest: a lot of the help of sponsors have signed on to the
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bill, and hopefully the next time we have a debate on health care reform, it will be seriously considered. it is difficult for americans to boycott insurance companies, because we really all desperately need to have insurance coverage. the insurance industry has changed so much over the last few years. we have fewer choices and we used to have. -- fewer choices than we used to have. it is about seven insurance companies that are for-profit, and one out of every three americans covered by an insurance plan is covered by a plan offered by one of these companies. it is not as easy to boycott a health insurance company as it is to boycott someone who makes the food, for example. but i understand what you are saying. host: mike is on the independent line. mike, you are with us. turn down your tv, please. ok, we are moving on to the republicans lined in port
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arthur, texas. welcome. caller: high. -- hi. i want to know if they are going to take all the money out of medicare advantage, which i am on. it is available where i live. i have all the doctors i wanted i've had five bypass surgeries. hoguest: no, you would not lose the medicare advantage program. if you do, it would be a result of your insurance company dropping rather than the government by parents are enrolled in the advantage plan. might -- parents are enrolled in the advantage -- my parents are enrolled in the advantage plan. the companies get a
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considerable bonus for participating in the program. they get billions of extra dollars to offer medical advantage plans. they can do so without the large subsidy of tax dollars and still offer a very good benefit plans. i can assure you that i would not be suggesting something that would be to the detriment of my parents. host: independent color, richard, and i understand you were in the insurance business. caller: yes, ma'am, i was, for about 35, 40 years. undergraduate degree from the wharton school, pretty good business school in philadelphia. i listen to this nonsense. i wrote a letter to carl rowan once upon a time wheabout the promise of a -- premise of it being done by the four
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government is so of the fact that it is going to suffer. -- by the federal government is so out of whack that is going to suffer. and now we want the federal government into the life insurance business even more. it is not going to work. it just is not going to work. what is going to happen? well, you will be paying 40% of your income for your medical insurance. that is exactly what is going to happen. i don't know what the answer is. i certainly don't want to go to canada. my father was canadian and i don't mind the country of canada. i am familiar with mtheir system because i have an aunt up there. guest: there has been a lot of incorrect information about the public option. it would not be like the medicare program. it would be a self sustaining
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program like private insurance companies. it would get money up front to get it started, but that would be repaid by premiums over the course of 10 years. it would be self sustaining. it would be self sustaining through the premiums that people pay who are enrolled in this. the public option would be beneficial to all americans. it would have a standard benefit plan, as with private insurance companies, but would not send premium dollars to investors or the pockets of the very rich ceo's. host: what is your take in health care in canada? it has been held up by people who are against the public option. guest: it is not modeled on canada or the u.k. by any means.
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most canadians are very happy with the coverage they have up there. every canadian is covered. there are more people in this country that do not have insurance coverage than the entire population of canada. when you add up the entire people who are uninsured in this country, it exceeds the population of the united kingdom. they find ways to make sure that the population has adequate coverage. many people who are in the medicare program to buy the supplemental program. -- supplemental coverage. it is the same principle. host: are you surprised by how those programs are held up as a negative? guest: not at all surprised it is the strategy of the industry to do that. it was done during the clinton years when this is being debated and. the industry wants you to think
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that they are very flawed systems, but they work very well with the want to demonize them, because if they implement them it would hurt the process. host: democrat from baltimore. caller: thank you so, so much for being on the program. i think you are an american hero. as far as health care being a commodity, that is something i have a lot of trouble with. i lived in england for a long time and work and contributed to the nhs and it was extremely comforting to know that if i had an accident i would not have to lose everything. this is something i have a love trouble hearing in the states, that health insurance is going to -- have a lot of trouble hearing in the states, that health insurance is going to go the way of canada and england. if you truly believe that health care is something that is a commodity, something that you can buy and sell like cars --
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one of the things i experience is that i did not have health insurance and the cost factor -- i do not feel they should be operating as a nonprofit for years and years and years i've been donating money to them. because i cannot afford the copays and etc., it seems like a waste of money. do you think that healthcare is something that should be bought and sold? what i'm fearing is that are we going to have to pay for police force, a bill from the fire department if they need to save our house? i wanted to know your thoughts on that. guest: i agree with your premise here. many years ago, at the beginning of this country, people did have to buy private fire insurance. if you did not have a shield under house that indicated you
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had fire insurance, your house would burn down. we do not want to go back to a day like that. i do not think that health insurance either should be a commodity. we learned that if the free market system works in many sectors of the economy, it does not work in the health insurance industry the way they would lead you to believe. we have so many people uninsured and underinsured that all of us who do have insurance are paying an additional $1,000 in premiums just to subsidize the care provided to hospitals. it just does not work. it is also harmful to our economy. people who are uninsured often are not as healthy as people who are insured. also, our businesses are suffering because the competitors around the world -- their competitors around the world do not have to spend as much money as we do, or any money at all, for that matter,
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to pay for insurance coverage for their employees. host: you worked for cigna when a controversy arose over a 79- year-old -- 17-year-old who became the subject of controversy. she was denied coverage and later died. it became a huge issue. john edwards talked about it during his campaign. can you give us insight into that? guest: it was a very sad situation. her father had a cigna policy. cigna declined our refused to pay for coverage of a transplant. it worse requested by her doctors at ucla -- was requested by her doctors at ucla. she became very ill. her family was trying to figure out how to get coverage for this
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transplant. there was a lot of publicity. ultimately, cigna decided to pay for it. but it was too late. she died two hours after the family learned of the company would pay for the procedure. what this demonstrates is that people who don't think that there is a corporate bureaucrat between them and their doctors need to rethink that. we do have rationing in this country in the current system. decisions are made by corporate executives, whether it is a medical director or nurse. they work for corporations just like i did and they have the same needs to meet wall street boston expectations as i did. -- wall street's expectations as i did. host: henry on the republican line in chicago. caller: i have seen you on a couple of programs. and i admire you for speaking out. i'm thinking about the reforms that they are trying to make to
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the health insurance industry right now. i was wondering, since you have so much inside, what would be your top five reforms that this government could make to improve our health insurance? given the information you know about the situation and what we are dealing with -- we cannot do single payer and there are several things off the table, but given the options we have, what would be the top five things you suggest the government do? guest: starting with the public option, that is prior birdie -- that is priority number one. a majority of americans support a public option, despite what many sacred is always enjoyed strong public support. -- by what many say. it has always enjoyed strong public support. two, i would end many of the current practices that the
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insurance industry has engaged in for many years, such as using pre-existing conditions to block people from getting coverage they need. i would make sure that companies no longer cherry pick just the healthy people for their coverage. i would make sure that there are sufficient -- there is sufficient oversight and regulation of the industry. the industry is largely regulated by the state government. there needs to be federal oversight as well. i would address cost. it is vitally important. you need to look at how we can not only control cost, but figure out ways that we can reduce total spending on health care in the country. host: william is an independent calder in charleston, south carolina. caller: i believe i have heard him in three different
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instances burgee says the public option is under the prices of promoting -- she says that the public option is in the process of promoting choice. i wonder if he knew, according to "the new york times" and "the wall street journal" how many insurance companies there are in the united states. guest: they would have you believe that there are 1300 insurance companies, which is disingenuous. there are not that many. the number of companies has rapidly diminished as there is significant consolidation in the industry as a result of mergers and acquisitions. the seven largest health insurance companies in this country have more than 100 million people enrolled in those domestic plants. small companies just cannot compete with these big, huge, for-profit companies.
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once there was a lot of competition, a much larger field that you could choose from. now those employers only offer one or two for their employees to choose from. there is very limited access to insurance companies. also, there is very large concentration in every individual market. in alabama, for example, the blue cross plan has about 75% or more of the market share. almost in every metropolitan area, what are two companies are so dominant that smaller companies that -- one or two companies are so dominant that small companies cannot compete. host: our guest, when a potter, was head of corporate communications -- bill potter, was head of corporate communications cigna. let's go to our next caller.
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caller: am i on the air? host: you are, welcome. caller: i would like to commend the gentleman who is on c-span this month, and i watch it every morning. i think it's great that the cable companies provide this service. i personally am for a public option. i'm on disability, i am disabled, and recently i am on a drug partly on medicare and medicaid. i had to change from a company i was with, getting the drugs through, ccrx. they had taken me off my medications and put me on some generic medication that was not working for me. my doctor appealed this three
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times, and they denied by position three times, -- tonight my position three times and put me back on the medication i was on. i had no choice. i was also not to mention that i'm required for extra help through the dhs office. i had the option to opt out of ccrx, so i went with etna. they have not denied any fight drugs -- denied me any of my drug that my doctor has put me on, and will not take me off my drugs in the future. i was told by a pharmacist that these drug companies that cater
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to these health plans, that they cater to them and cut to the drug costs to get them to change medications that i was on because they could get it at a cheaper rate. host: let us get a response. thanks, william. guest: your pharmacist is correct. the companies to have relationships with pharmaceutical companies. the larger volume the insurance company as with the drug company for a particular medication, the more consideration that company has agreed it is beneficial to the drug company and the insurance company -- the more consideration the company has. it is beneficial to the drug
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company and the insurance company to promote certain medications. he was also at the mercy of the companies as to which drugs will be -- you werare also at the mey of the companies as to which crunch will be available to you. -- which the drug will be available to you. they often overrule what your doctor has ordered. host: mary is calling from buffalo, new york, on the republicans line. caller: are you saying that the public option is the only way to keep insurance companies honest? -- you keep saying that the public option is the only way to keep insurance companies honest. aren't there other ways to force competition and regulate insurance companies? but dishonest people in jail. create other legislation that forces insurance companies to do
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the job in our -- in the private sector and keep it honest. guest: i wish it were possible, but i don't think it is without a public option, and here is my -- we have a lot of regulations that make a lot of these practices illegal, but there are not enough resources to regulate the industry as much as it should read it would cost an enormous amount of money to regulate these companies the way they really should. we do need additional regulation. the reform legislation before the house and the senate would make some of these practices illegal that should have been made illegal a long time ago. they know also that if we were to make some of these practices illegal, they are so driven by
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the needs of making money for the wall street investors that it would figure out ways to make sure that your rates go up when they are no longer able to keep people off of their roles because they are sick. host: steve is in arlington, virginia, on the independent line. caller: thanks for taking my call. my question is since you have so much experience in the years in the insurance industry, what your insight is into tort reform. it seems that the demand for tort reform coming from the insurance company's ads and los -- from the insurance companies ebbs and flows. for a long time they were saying that all the costs related to frivolous lawsuits, but i have not heard that much lately. i'm wondering if you could tell anything about that drive to
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blame trial lawyers. guest: the reality is that there is very little in terms of the total spending on health care in the country resulting from frivolous lawsuits. one thing people don't realize is that most people don't have the ability to suit thei -- to o recover federal damages. most people are in a program that exempts most employers from state regulations, which means that if we are wronged by our provider an employer, the only recourse is to file in federal court. even if you win in federal court, you will only get the value of the service that was denied to you, and nothing more. there is very little incentive for many lawyers to take cases like that, or for many people to pursue them a.
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tort reform is something that usually comes up, almost always comes up in the health-care debate. it is essentially a red herring and in many ways. there are many reasons we should take a look at tort law, but it is a relatively insignificant reason for health care all costs increasing. host: mike is a democratic caller from detroit. caller: i appreciate you talking about this. you should be on a lot more channels and you should be speaking with the president about this. tort reform only cost approximately 1% of our total health care, as you probably already know. i was surprised -- i watched the the senate hearings all the time, and the republicans were saying so much about all these people that don't even realize they are eligible for medicaid. that is a bunch of bunk.
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i tried to qualify for medicaid twice. i have congestive heart condition, i was told i need a pacemaker. my heart is only pumping out 25% of the blood when it should be pumping 66%. i was denied twice. the plant that many republicans signed up for is socialized insurance, and here they are preaching about the government taking over. when iowa got flooded, he was ready to collect the check for his stay. i don't understand what people are so worried about. guest: health care reform needs to be comprehensive and i don't dispute that. one of the the things we've been hearing is that the government is looking with the president'

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